TOKYO, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe departed Thursday for his first summit talks with U.S. President Donald Trump which are scheduled for Friday in Washington.
Prior to leaving the Japanese leader said he hoped his first official meeting with Trump would convey a message that the Japan-U.S. alliance was as strong as ever.
"I hope this summit meeting will be a message to the world that the Japan-U.S. alliance will be stronger and tougher," Abe told a press briefing at Tokyo's Haneda airport.
Abe also said that Japan and the U.S. have always enjoyed a healthy economic relationship that works for both countries and that, along with Trump, he hopes such a relationship will continue to develop freely and fairly.
Abe's summit with Trump will take place on Friday afternoon local time, the Foreign Ministry here said, and following a press conference Abe is slated to play golf with Trump at the president's resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
"Apart from our jobs, I want to build a strong relationship of trust with Trump," said Abe of his extracurricular activities on the links with the U.S. leader.
The summit will be a chance for Abe to reaffirm the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance, officials here said, while explaining to the U.S. how important Japanese companies are to the U.S. economy.
Abe is also expected in Washington, along with Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, to present a number of ways Japan plans to work with the U.S. on trade and job creation in the U.S. that will be to the benefit of both countries.
Trump had previously accused Japan of devaluing its currency and blasted Japan's top automakers, including Toyota, for unfair trade.
Japan's trade deficit with the U.S. was its second-largest in 2016, totaling 68.94 billion U.S. dollars.
Trump has also taken aim at Japan for not paying enough for U.S. military forces to be based here.