US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are with Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
In a speech to USA troops after Air Force One landed at Yokota Air Base here on a crisp, sunny morning, Trump never mentioned North Korea, but he said the US military stood ready to defend the country and "fight to overpower" its adversaries.
The White House has sought to emphasise the length of the five-nation tour - the longest by any U.S. president since George H.W. Bush in 1991 - as evidence of Trump's commitment to engaging with the region.
Eliminating North Korea's ability to threaten the United States with nuclear weapons is Trump's cardinal priority in Asia.
Their relationship got off to a "rocky start", Mr Trump said.
"It's a lot of jobs for us, and a lot of safety for Japan, and other countries that are likewise purchasing military equipment from us", Trump said.
It was not immediately clear whether the US President was speaking with a flippant flourish, or whether he literally did not know how many countries are in the world.
Trump, on his first full weekday in office, killed USA participation in the TPP. Japan is a big customer of Boeing's commercial jets.
Japan's private sector has never been more attractive from a global perspective, with significant financial capital and multinational companies eager to make major new investments overseas. Abe spent significant political capital to back the deal, particularly among farmers who don't want to see tariffs on agriculture lowered. The two men also agree on a hard-line approach to North Korea. That's led to a monthly drop in US frozen beef exports.
During the briefing, military officials showed Trump a huge map of the region, with laminated stickers marking the locations of USA forces, according to a US official.
"The US has suffered massive trade deficits with Japan for many, many years". In the interview, Trump mentioned Akie Abe while explaining why he got up from his seat to go talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The day before Trump's departure, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster outlined advancing "American prosperity through fair and reciprocal trade and economic practices" as a core goal for the trip.
After describing the North Koreans as "great people" and saying that he hoped it worked out, Mr Trump then appeared to offer the first hint of an opening to Kim Jong Un (KJU). Last year, he said it would be "meaningless" without the U.S.
A year ago, if you had told us that the strongest leader of a major advanced industrial economy would not be the American president, not the German chancellor, nor the British prime minister but Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe we would have called you insane - but this is the current reality. Combined with his newfound domestic strength, Abe has a historic opportunity to balance his foreign policy by globalizing the U.S. -Japan alliance in such a way that benefits his own priorities moving forward. "And they truly think that your prime minister did very, very well when he made a decision to marry-or she chose to marry him-Mrs".