President Donald Trump wished a happy Memorial Day to American troops aboard an assault ship docked in Japan as he wrapped up his state visit to chants of ‘U.S.A. U.S.A.’.
Trump described the cheering crowd of American servicemen and women as ‘daring and mighty warriors in the Pacific’ during his farewell speech on the USS Wasp.
‘I have to wish you all a very happy Memorial Day,’ Trump told the troops aboard the ship docked at the mouth of Tokyo Bay.
‘On this Memorial Day evening in the United States, Americans are concluding a sacred day of remembrance, reflection and prayer.’
He told around 800 members of the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet that he generally likes to be in the U.S. for Memorial Day but said the trip to Japan was ‘amazing and unforgettable’.
Several service members wore round patches emblazoned with ‘Make Aircrew Great Again’ — a play on Trump’s campaign slogan.
Many posed for photographs with the president, while others had him sign their belongings.
Trump is on his way back to Washington after the four-day visit that saw him meet Japan’s new emperor and hold serious discussions with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about North Korea, Iran and trade.
President Donald Trump wishes a happy Memorial Day to American troops aboard an assault ship docked in Japan as he wraps up his state visit
The crowd of around 800 men and women chanted ‘U.S.A. U.S.A.’ as Trump thanked them for their service
The president said he generally likes to observe Memorial Day in the US but described the trip to Japan as ‘amazing and unforgettable’
President Trump greets troops after speaking at a Memorial Day event on the USS Wasp
He and Abe also played golf and attended a sumo wrestling match.
Before his speech to US troops, Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited a Japanese helicopter carrier, the J.S. Kaga, docked nearby.
Standing alongside Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump delivered the same ‘happy Memorial Day’ message to the Japanese forces.
Trump touted the U.S.-Japan military alliance and said their troops would confront a ‘range of complex threats in the region and far beyond.’
It was the closest he came to mentioning growing tension with China, as well as with North Korea, in a pair of Memorial Day addresses before he Melania went home.
‘You’ve been really the talk of Japan. They’re not covering me. I’m a little upset with her right now,’ he said.
‘They love you in Japan, honey, and we appreciate it very much. Really, works very hard.’
Trump and Melania pose with troops on the American assault ship (pictured) before they left
Some marines wore patches with Trump’s face on them that were a play on his political slogan. They said ‘Make Aircrew Great Again’ instead of ‘Make America Great Again’
U.S. President Donald Trump signs a dollar bill for a troop member aboard the USS Wasp
He began his remarks at the USS Wasp with a Memorial Day message, after a short stopover on the USS Kaga, which will be outfitted to carry F-35 stealth fighter jets.
Trump said he likes to spend the holiday that honors fallen soldiers in the U.S., but he accomplished quite a bit in Japan.
The U.S. president stuck to his script at Kaga but trashed the U.S. military’s electromagnetic catapult in his Wasp address.
He said it has a $900 million cost overrun and did a voice vote of servicemembers, asking whether they preferred steam or electric power. They heartily endorsed steam.
‘I said what was wrong with steam. I would like to know,’ he said he asked the military after he came into office. ‘I think I’m going to put an order, when we build a new aircraft carrier, we’re going to use steam. I’m just going to put out an order. We don’t need the electric speed.’
Trump said sometimes the Pentagon gets it wrong, and that was one of those times. Not with the F-35B fighter jet, though. Trump said the Lockheed Martin aircraft is one of the best.
‘The enemy has a problem with it. You know what the problem is? They can’t see it,’ he said on the United States’ vessel at Yokosuka. ‘Other than that, it’s a fair fight.’
Trump made reference to the strained relations with North Korea and China in his Memorial Day address, mentioning conflicts in the region, but did not mention the countries by name.
Trump shakes hands with Hideki Mizuta, captain of Japanese destroyer, the J.S. Kaga, where he spoke to Japanese troops before heading for the USS Wasp
Melania, Japan’s Empress Masako, US President Donald J. Trump and Japan’s Emperor Naruhito
President Donald Trump ended his visit to Japan on a military assault ship stationed outside Tokyo. He’s seen here boarding Air Force One with Melania to return to the United States
U.S. marines salute Trump as he arrives aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp
Trump reviewed the JS Kaga before his remarks on the USS Wasp. The JS Kaga one of two Japanese ‘escorting destroyers’ that are being upgraded to aircraft carriers
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech to Japanese and U.S. troops with U.S. President Donald Trump aboard the JS Kaga south of Tokyo
‘As you know, Japan recently announced its intent to purchase 105 brand new stealth F-35 fighter aircraft. The best in the world. This purchase will give Japan the largest fleet of F-35s of any our allies. And soon this very ship will be upgraded to carry that cutting-edge technology,’ he said on the JS Kaga.
He said, ‘With this extraordinary new equipment, the JS Kaga will help our nations defend against a range of complex threats in the region and far beyond.’
Trump reviewed the JS Kaga before his remarks on the USS Wasp. The JS Kaga one of two Japanese ‘escorting destroyers’ that are being upgraded to aircraft carriers.
Japan refers to their ships as escorting vessels to comply with their constitution. They were prohibited from building an offensive force after they fought the United States and Allied Forces three-quarters of a century ago.
The Kaga’s namesake sunk in the Battle of Midway in 1942, during the world war that pitted the United States against Japan. The countries are aligned now against a growing threat from China and North Korea.
He and Abe delivered remarks on the ship that were characterized as ‘words of encouragement’ from the prime minster and U.S. president to service members.
An official said before their remarks that 500 Japanese and American troops were on board the boat for the event.
Abe told troops, ‘Today, I feel extremely delighted to have this opportunity with President Trump to see all of you here, representing the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. Forces men and women of great courage and patriotism.’
He said it ‘is the very first time in history that the two leaders of Japan and the United States’ have held such an event.
‘Japan-U.S. alliance has become more robust than ever under the great connection that I and President Trump have developed. The fact that we stand together on board the JS Kaga today is a testament to such robust alliance,’ he said.
He added, ‘President Trump, I am truly, truly grateful for our friendship. And just like between us, there is a deep bond of friendship between the men and women of the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the U.S Forces, which deserves celebration.’
Melania Trump wore white flats at the USS Wasp and changed into yellow heels to ride home on Air Force One
President Trump shakes hands with the Japanese prime minister on the Kaga as he leaves
Melania Trump switches between white flats and yellow Louboutin heels on Tuesday
‘We had a tremendous couple of days with the prime minister. He’s a great gentleman, great leader, and I just want to say that our first lady and I are very honored to be here today on the JS Kaga,’ the president said
‘Our mission is to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific and to establish a foundation for regional peace and prosperity. As we gather here, I believe that every one of us shares unwavering determination to fulfill such mission.’
He noted that the JS Kaga sailed through the Indian Ocean last year in ‘close cooperation’ with the United States Navy and mentioned the ‘severe environment’ in which the two nations are living.
‘We will refurbish JS Kaga in the future to carry short takeoff and vertical landing fighter aircraft so that we can further continue the peace and stability of Japan in this region. Japan will continue to play its role with unwavering commitment,’ he said.
Abe said he takes great pride in his country’s self defense forces. ‘And also to President Trump, I pay my tribute to you as a great commander in chief. Mr. president, thank you very much,’ he added.
President Trump told him, ‘Well, thank you very much. And I want to start by saying Happy Memorial Day.’
‘We had a tremendous couple of days with the prime minister. He’s a great gentleman, great leader, and I just want to say that our first lady and I are very honored to be here today on the JS Kaga. It’s a great ship. You love this ship? You all love this ship?’ he asked servicemen who did not appear to speak English. ‘I feel very safe on this.’
Japan is investing heavily in its self-defense forces over fears of Chinese and North Korean incursions.
The country’s constitution forbids it from re-militarizing but allows self-defense forces, and Abe’s administration has stepped up defense spending.
Trump said Monday that could lean on Japan to smooth over relations with Tehran as well, commenting on the close relationship Abe has with the Iranian government.
‘Nobody wants to see terrible things happen. Especially me,’ he asserted at Akasaka Palace in a meeting with his Japanese counterpart.
Trump said he’d enjoyed during the first three days of his trip – which included sumo, golf and an imperial welcome ceremony – but he’d like the countries to work on a trade imbalance.
‘We’ve had some great talk on trade. We’ve had some great talk on the military. And we discussed, of course, North Korea. I think we’ve made a lot of progress on a lot of subjects,’ he said in the meetings on Monday.
Firepower: Trump inspected the JS Kaga, a helicopter carrier which is to become the Japanese naval defense force’s first full-scale aircraft carrier since World War II
He said the relationship had ‘never been better than it is right now with Japan’ telling press, ‘I feel that we understand each other very well.’
‘We have a situation where we have the best relationship that we’ve ever had with Japan, and we’re going to keep it that way,’ he insisted before a joint news conference.
Trump said Tuesday that he honored to be on the JS Kaga with his ‘friend’ the Japanese prime minister and his wife Mrs. Akie Abe.
He said Abe is an ‘extraordinary man’ who is improving Japan’s defense capabilities, ‘which also advances the security of the United States of America.’
He was speaking to U.S. 7th Fleet troops and the Japanese maritime self-defense forces.
‘It was a great honor last night and this morning to meet and greet your new emperor and empress – two very, very special people – spectacular,’ he told them. ‘We’ve gotten to know them, and they’re going to do a tremendous job for Japan. They’ll make you very proud.’
He said, ‘On behalf of the first lady and myself, I want to take a moment to send our prayers and sympathies to the victims of the stabbing attack this morning in Tokyo. All Americans stand with the people of Japan grieve for the victims and for their families.’
He mentioned it was the beginning of the Reiwa era. ‘We celebrate the U.S.-Japan alliance and the friendship between our freedom-loving peoples.’
‘On behalf of all Americans, we extend our deep gratitude for everything you do to safeguard our people,’ he said.
Introducing her husband on the USS Wasp, Melania Trump said, ‘This has been a very enjoyable and productive visit with the Japanese people, and we are thankful for the hospitality that we have received.’
She thanked them for their ‘service and sacrifice and all that you do on behalf of your country’ in brief remarks.