Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has left for his first summit talks with US President Donald Trump, scheduled for Friday in Washington.
He spoke to reporters before departing from Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Thursday evening.
Abe said he hoped the summit will send a clear message that the Japan-US alliance will become stronger and more resilient than ever.
Abe also said Japan and the US have always enjoyed win-win economic relations and that they will continue to develop that way, based on rules that are free and fair.
Japanese officials say Abe is hoping to build personal trust between himself and the new US leader.
Abe is hoping to use the summit to reaffirm the importance of the Japan-US alliance. He plans to convey Japan's resolve to keep working with the US for peace and stability of the Asian Pacific region and the world.
Trump has pulled the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, and has indicated that he will seek a bilateral trade deal with Japan instead.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday reiterated his determination to resolve the issue of North Korea's past abductions of Japanese nationals, with concerns lingering over the safety of the abductees amid tension on the Korean Peninsula. (Japan Today)
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike was named one of the world's 100 Most Influential People of 2017 by Time Magazine on Thursday along with U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (Japan Times)