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Tokyo departure

At 18:06 VPOTUS is aboard AF2 and we are about to taxi.

Next stop Jakarta.

Reported by Andrew Beatty

Baseball and quotes

At 16:37 the VPOTUS was rolling to the Setagaya Okura Sport Center where a baseball clinic was taking place.

We sped through central Tokyo (sorry commuters), passing Roppongi, other neighborhoods and a very nice park.

After 22 minutes we arrived to the baseball pitch, where young batsmen and women and bowlers were already waiting.

VPOTUS got a cheer as he entered the field and he gave them a wave.

"It's a beautiful ballpark" the Vice President said to his greeter, the mayor of Setagaya, Nobuto Hosaka, before walking over to around 100 players with Olympian Monica Abbott.

The VPOTUS received a couple of jerseys and a bat as a gift and then posed for a group photo along with the second lady on home plate.

"Thank you everybody, just wonderful to see you all," he said.

Once the photo broke up, VPOTUS mingled among the crowd, signed baseballs and softballs.

He wrapped things up at 17:13 and we are now rolling to the airport.

The earlier speech to business leaders was open press but here are some of the highlights.

VPOTUS repeatedly referenced the benefits of bilateral trade, saying "America is grateful" for Japanese investment.

"The trade between us is an important factor to our success," he said.

"The economic partnership between the us and Japan will continue to grow and flourish"

Turning to his time in Indiana, the VP said he would always be appreciative of 7,000 jobs created by Japanese own firms during time as governor.

They came not just to do business, but create communities, he added.

"Ever since President Trump's economy, Japanese companies have dramatically increased investments in the American economy."

He said that the US seeks stronger and more balanced bilateral trade.

"We can find new ways to expand our economic ties."

Turning to tax reform he said the administration was "working around the clock to pass an agenda" of lower taxes.

"I don't have to tell you how complicated the american tax code is."

"Our tax reform plan will make the strongest economy in the world stronger still."

Many thanks to Justin Sink of Bloomberg for the assist with quotes and baseball lingo.

Reported by Andrew Beatty


business meeting

At around 14:21 the Vice President entered a conference room in the Okura hotel, where Japanese and American business representative were gathered.

VPOTUS said hello to Wilber Ross with a "Mr Secretary."

He then greeted Akio Toyoda warmly, saying "have you been racing any cars recently?" and in formal remarks VPOTUS said he was "humbled" by the Toyota president's attendance.

He also called out Patrik Jonsson of Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly.

VPOTUS then noted that Indiana was home to 260 Japanese companies.

"I have have seen the fruits of a warm mutually beneficial relationship," he said, adding "the best is yet to come."

Per White House other participants included Amcham's Chris LaFleur, charge d'affaires Jason Hyland, Makiko Eda of Intel, Tad Wakamatsu of GM, Haruno Yoshida of BT Japan, Denise Rutherford of 3M, Charles Lake of Aflac, Shunichi Miyanaga of Mitsubishi heavy industries and Sadayuki Sakakibara of Toray industries.

Your pool is now waiting in a hotel ballroom for VPOTUS remarks, which is open press.

Reported by Andrew Beatty


Yokosuka Naval Base
Yokosuka City, Japan

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Lieutenant General Martinez, Major General Chiarotti, Vice Admiral Aucoin, Vice Admiral Doman, Rear Admiral Williams, Rear Admiral Carter, Rear Admiral Inoue, Rear Admiral Shimo, Captain Donnelly, Chargé Hyland, Ambassador Sasae, Director-General Mori, members of United States Forces of Japan, the Japan Self-Defense Forces, it is my high honor and distinct privilege to join you here today on America’s flagship -- the USS Ronald Reagan -- where every day, all of you prove it can be done. (Applause.)

You all look sharp out there, but at ease. It's so good to be with you today.

I bring greetings from the President of the United States of America, your Commander-in-Chief, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)

I spoke to the President this morning, just before I boarded the ship. He said to tell you that he’s proud of you. And he said to me, “I wish I could be where you are.” And I know he meant it, from the bottom of his heart.

The President sent me here today to thank you -- to thank you for your service -- all of you, American and Japanese, who have stood up, who’ve stepped forward to protect our countries, our values, and our very way of life.

You are the sons and daughters of freedom, willing to defend it with your life -- so that your families, your fellow countrymen, and future generations may continue to call themselves free. Give yourselves a round of applause. All of America is proud of you. (Applause.)

The Good Book tells us, “if you owe debts pay debts, if honor, then honor, if respect, then respect.” I stand before you today, on behalf of your Commander-in-Chief, to pay a debt of gratitude to each of you and to express the well-deserved respect of the President of the United States and the American people for all of you who wear the uniform of this country.

Our prayers for you, for your families, your safety rise every day into the heart of heaven. In a word, you are the best of us -- heroes all. And you are here, the Americans among you so far away from home, because the United States of America and Japan are bound by history, a time-honored treaty, and the abiding oath of friendship.

The United States-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of peace, prosperity, and freedom in the Asia Pacific. And let me be clear: Under President Donald Trump, the United States stands unwavering in our alliance and unyielding in our resolve to defend all that we have built together over these generations. (Applause.)

Our bond with Japan is strong and growing stronger by the day. In February, only weeks after he took his oath of office, President Trump welcomed Prime Minister Abe to the White House, where they reaffirmed in their words “their strong determination to further strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance.”

You here, on the deck of this great ship, are the physical manifestation of that alliance, and I have to tell you it is deeply inspiring to stand before you today, and see what I see gathered here on this deck. Every American would be inspired and proud if they had this view, and I know I am. (Applause.)

As the President and the Prime Minister made clear, the United States will strengthen its presence in the Asia Pacific, Japan will assume a larger role and responsibility in our alliance in the years ahead, and both of our nations will continue to expand our cooperation for our common defense.

Under President Trump, the United States’ commitment to Article 5 of our Security Treaty is unwavering. And our treaty covers all of the territories administered by Japan, including the Senkaku Islands.

It’s fitting that today I deliver this message aboard this great ship, a majestic ship, the USS Ronald Reagan, here at Yokosuka Naval Base. Her steel deck literally signifies the ironclad alliance our country enjoys with Japan and our enduring commitment to the Asia Pacific. (Applause.)

And we are standing on a ship named after my second favorite President. Our 40th President, Ronald Reagan, was a great President who powerfully reminded us that peace only comes through strength. You are that strength.

Today, over 50,000 U.S. troops and a further 50,000 civilians and family members are stationed here in Japan. And the United States will continue to deploy more of our most advanced military assets to the region in the years ahead.

Beyond this noble ship and the carrier strike group that it leads, by the year 2020, this ocean will boast 60 percent of our Navy’s fleet. And the skies above already have F-35 Joint Strike Fighters flying for freedom. (Applause.)

And you can rest assured, the full range of the United States military capability is dedicated to the protection of Japan. Japan, you are our friend -- you are our ally -- and on that foundation, we will face the future together.

Under President Donald Trump, the United States once again will stand with our allies and stand up to our enemies. (Applause.)

And I can assure you President Trump will unfailingly support the brave men and women in uniform who defend our freedom every single day.

We’re the proud parents of a United States Marine, stationed as we speak at a naval air station in the South of the United States. And I have to tell you, as the parent of someone in the service, it is the greatest privilege of my life to serve as Vice President to a President who is so dedicated to the men and women of our armed forces, their families, and our veterans.

I can tell you from my heart: President Donald Trump will be the best friend America’s Armed Forces will ever have. (Applause.)

The President and I will honor your commitment and secure America’s safety through historic investments in our national defense.

Just as President Ronald Reagan restored the armed forces in his day, so too President Donald Trump will make the strongest fighting force in the world even stronger still.

Just look at what President Trump has already accomplished. In his first 100 days, President Trump has taken decisive action to end the era of budget cuts for America’s military. (Applause.)

President Trump has submitted a budget which will rebuild our military and restore the arsenal of democracy with the largest increase in defense spending since the days the namesake of this ship sat in the Oval Office. (Applause.)

And in just the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new President in the decisive action that he took in Syria and Afghanistan. The enemies of our freedom and this alliance would do well not to test the resolve of this President -- or the capabilities of the Armed Forces of the United States of America and our allies. (Applause.)

Make no mistake: Under President Donald Trump, the United States will be strong -- stronger than ever before. For as history attests, when America is strong, the world is safe. (Applause.)

A strong America -- militarily, economically, and diplomatically -- is vitally important to this region and all who call it home. It was through the bravery of our servicemembers and the spirit of our people, that America established the foundation of peace and freedom that endures in the Asia Pacific to this very day.

And under President Trump, the United States will continue to defend prosperity and ensure security on these seas, and between our lands.

Today, as in ages past, American leadership lights the way. The United States stands with all our allies and our partners in the region to keep the peace, enrich our people, and advance the common good.

Together, we will defend the rules-based order upon which the region’s progress, past and future, depends. We will protect the freedom of navigation and overflight and other lawful uses of the sea, in the South China Sea and elsewhere, and we will ensure the unimpeded flow of lawful commerce on the Seven Seas. (Applause.)

And we will uphold international rules and norms, promote peaceful diplomatic dialogue to address issues of regional and international concern, and we will defend human rights -- because the dignity and worth of every person is an eternal value of the United States of America.

Under President Trump, the United States will faithfully defend all that we hold dear -- for we know that if we falter, the light of truth and freedom in the world could swiftly be extinguished.

We gather here today, on this deck, and in this place, as storm clouds gather on the horizon. On Monday, I traveled to the frontlines of freedom, where the vibrancy of a free South Korea meets directly the repression of North Korea. At the Demilitarization Zone, I met with the brave men and women who watch over that land, day and night.

They know what you who stand in the gap in this region already know -- North Korea is the most dangerous and urgent threat to the peace and security of the Asia Pacific.

For more than a generation, North Korea’s leaders have sought to develop nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles on which to deliver them. They have impoverished their people and embittered the region in their pursuit of this dangerous goal. For more than two decades, from the Agreed Framework of 1994, the Six-Party Talks from year 2003 to ’09, to the strategic patience of the recent past, the United States and our allies have worked to tirelessly to peacefully dismantle North Korea’s nuclear program and alleviate the suffering of its people.

But at every step of the way, North Korea answered our overtures with willful deception, with broken promises, and nuclear and missile tests -- including a failed missile test they attempted just this past Sunday.

As President Trump has made clear to the world, the era of strategic patience is over. (Applause.)

At the President’s direction, the policy of the United States will be to continue to work diligently with Japan, our allies across the region, China, and the wider world to bring economic and diplomatic pressure to bear on the regime in North Korea, and we will do so until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

But as all of you know, readiness is the key. And you, the instruments of American policy, should know -- all options are on the table. History will attest, the soldier “does not bear the sword in vain.”

And those who would challenge our resolve or our readiness should know: We will defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response. (Applause.)

The United States of America will always seek peace, but under President Trump, the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready.

Rest assured, under President Trump’s leadership, the United States will continue to protect our people and our allies and to strengthen the bonds between us -- today, tomorrow, and every day that follows.

As I look out across this deck, I see men and women -- American and Japanese -- who have answered the call to duty. And you have my deepest respect. In these challenging times, it is you -- through your voluntary service and your sacrifice -- who guard the flame of freedom, undimmed and undiminished, to give to generations to come.

The President and I have absolute faith that you will accomplish this mission and freedom will prevail because you follow in the footsteps also of those who defended freedom in the Asia Pacific in the past. I stand before you deeply humbled to be among so many in uniform because my own life’s journey did not take me into the uniform of the United States. But it took my father.

Sixty-five years ago, a young Edward J. Pence left his home, in Illinois, put on the uniform and crossed this vast Pacific on which you serve. Like so many of his countrymen, that second lieutenant in the 45th Infantry Division of the United States Army landed on the shores of South Korea, in the midst of a battle for freedom, a rifle in hand, resolved to defend that freedom with his life.

Just two days ago, I stood at the Demilitarized Zone, and looked out across the landscape -- the very landscape where my father had fought, in the Battle for Old Baldy and the battle on Pork Chop Hill. It was a deeply emotional experience for me. There, alongside his brothers-in-arms, American and Korean, my dad had helped seize the high ground, repulsing more than 20 enemy counterattacks. And they seized the high ground of freedom, which prevails in South Korea to this day. (Applause.)

Sixty-four years ago last week, my dad was -- had a medal pinned on his chest for his valor on the field of battle. But like most of our nation’s heroes, my dad never talked much about his time in combat. I believe that he carried in his heart something that you understand in ways that I perhaps never will.

My dad never thought of himself as a hero. He often would say that the heroes were the ones that didn’t get to come home. He lost friends -- young shining faces filled with promise -- who gave the last full measure of devotion for your sake, and for mine to defend our freedom and to plant freedom in that ancient land. And they succeeded.

So now it’s our turn in this generation. And more to the point, it’s your turn. Today, we best honor the sacrifices of those who have gone before by defending the freedom they fought and bled and died to secure.

And on behalf of your Commander-in-Chief, this we know you will do.

As President Ronald Reagan said in his time, “we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have.” (Applause.)

For generations, the United States has stood guard over the Asia Pacific, protecting freedom through our strength of will and strength of arms.

With our friends and with our allies, with Japan and so many others, we have ushered in an era of unprecedented peace and prosperity on these seas and between our lands.

Our choice today is the same as in ages past: Security through strength, or an uncertain future of weakness and faltering will. Let me assure you, under President Donald Trump, the United States has again chosen the way of strength. (Applause.)

Under President Trump, the United States has chosen prosperity and security and an unwavering commitment to the Asia Pacific.

And in the name of the generations that came before, together with our allies, with confidence in all of you, and in the Commander-in-Chief who leads you, I know we will together go forth to meet the glorious future that awaits, a future of freedom for ourselves and our posterity.

Thank you. Godspeed on the USS Reagan’s imminent deployment. God bless you. God bless Japan. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

By White House

USS Reagan depart

Your pool has left the Ronald Reagan, where VPOTUS is taping another CNN interview. He will lift back to Tokyo shortly, we'll take the low road.

Reported by Andrew Beatty


USS Ronald Reagan - Yokosuka

At 9:02 the ship bell signaled that VPOTUS came aboard the USS Ronald Reagan -- a Nimitz class aircraft carrier currently undergoing scheduled maintenance at its home port of Yokosuka. We are told the VP heloed to an LZ nearby and then motorcaded over.

The USS Reagan is part of the 7th Fleet. It serves as... ahem... the anchor of Carrier Strike Group Five.

At moment later VPOTUS entered the ceremonial quarterdeck of the carrier, where your pool was preset. He was piped aboard by the honors boatswain, walked through two flanks of four side boys -- eight total --and was greeted by ship Captain Buzz Donnelly.

"What a great honor to be here we appreciate your leadership" VPOTUS said.

"I spoke to the president and he wishes he were here" he added before introducing his wife and two daughters.

The quarterdeck housed a metal seven foot statue of the Gipper and a two foot bust, state flags and assorted navy memorabilia. On the floor was a woven rug with an insignia of the ship and the words "Peace through strength."

The pool is now moving to another pre-set position.

Reported by Andrew Beatty



The Prime Minister’s Residence
Tokyo, Japan

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER ASO: (As interpreted.) I’m delighted to welcome to Vice President Pence to Japan in April when some cherry blossoms are still remaining. Perhaps it reminded you of the big celebration of the Cherry Blossom Festival, which was held in Washington last month. So I hope you can still have some good impression about the cherry blossom.

Vice President Pence in his governor days in the state of Indiana visited Japan many times over and attracted many Japanese businesses to Indiana. He had really always worked very hard to strength Japan-U.S. relationship. Very soon after my visit to the United States where I had a very useful meeting with our dear, longstanding friend of Japan in February, I am very proud to say today that the Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue was kicked off, opening up a new page for our bilateral relations.

I feel very proud about it. Security and economy are two wheels supporting Japan-U.S. alliance for the stability of the Asian Pacific region, economic prosperity is indispensable. At the dialogue today, from the perspective of further deepening win-win economic relations between Japan and the United States, Vice President Pence and I were able to have a good discussion.

Going forward in the dialogue we concurred to discuss three pillars, namely common strategy on trade and investment rule and issues; cooperation in economic and structural policy area; sectoral cooperation. Those three pillars will be discussed.

As for the common strategy for trade and investment rules and issues, at the Japan-U.S. summit meeting held a while ago, two leaders confirmed that they are fully committed to strengthening economic relationship bilaterally, as well as in the region based on the free and fair trade rules.

And based on this common recognition, Japan and U.S. relationship will further be strengthened. And under our bilateral leadership we will build high-level trade and investment standards and spread that to the Asian Pacific region, that is free and fair trade rules.

To rectify unfair trading practices in the region, Japan and the United States agree to further our mutual cooperation. Being mindful of WTO’s dispute settlement procedures, Japan will push for Japan-U.S. authorities to work ever more closely, including the minister of foreign affairs dispute settlement section, as well as general counsel office, which was newly formed within METI.

On the cooperation on economic and structural policy area, Japan and the U.S. will actively use three-pronged approach of fiscal monetary and structural policy agreed at G7. And we’ll discuss the ways to lead a balanced and strong growth. Views will be exchanged on international economic and financial developments, and we’ll work closely.

On sectoral cooperation, infrastructure such as high-speed rail and energy various themes where Japan-U.S. could cooperate will be taken up. And Japan-U.S. economic relationship will be deepened, a multi-faceted front along with these three pillars, Japan-U.S. economic relations will leap forward significantly. And Japan and U.S. together will lead strongly economic growth of the Asian Pacific region, as well as the rest of the world.

Also Vice President Pence and I agreed to hold the second economic dialogue meeting by the end of this year at a mutually convenient time.

To further deepen Japan-U.S. win-win economic relations and to build a new history of our bilateral relations going forward, Vice President Pence and I will continue to have constructive dialogue. As far as looking at the Japan-U.S. relationship, we started with a friction, but for the very first time, no longer it’s a friction. But it’s based on the cooperation now. This is a very important juncture where we are opening a new page.

Thank you so much.

Vice President Pence, please.

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Konnichiwa and hello. To Deputy Prime Minister Aso, thank you. Thank you for your great hospitality and your friendship and the kindness that you've shown us in the effort that begins today.

I thank you for your tireless work to strengthen the bond between your nation and mine. It is an honor to be back in Japan. On my very first visit to the Asian Pacific as Vice President of the United States, I had to come to Japan.

I bring greetings from the President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. And earlier today on the President’s behalf, I had the honor to meet with Prime Minister Abe to reaffirm the abiding friendship and the enduring alliance between Japan and the United States.

The United States-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of peace, prosperity, and freedom in the Asia Pacific. And under President Trump, America is committed to strengthening our alliance and deepening our friendship for the benefit of our people and for the benefit of the world.

Already our bond is growing stronger. Prime Minister Abe was one of the very first world leaders who President Trump hosted at the White House. They continued their meeting at the Southern White House, and I can attest personally that they have forged a good, personal relationship which is already benefitting both of our nations.

Their relationship truly demonstrates the extraordinary respect that President Trump has for our critically important ally Japan. Today as we have for more than half a century, the United States and Japan stand united in defense of democracy and the rule of law, not only in this region, but all across the world.

Tomorrow I will speak from the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan at Yokosuka Naval Base, a tangible sign of our unity with Japan and the United States’ unyielding commitment to peace and security in the Asia Pacific.

Under President Trump, the United States will continue to work with Japan and with all our allies in the region, including South Korea to confront the most ominous threat posing this region of the world, the regime in North Korea. And let me be clear, our commitment is unwavering and our resolve could not be stronger.

As President Trump told Prime Minister Abe at the Southern White House so I say on his behalf today to all the people of Japan, in these challenging times, we are with you 100 percent.

In the face of provocations across the Sea of Japan, the people of this country should know that we stand with you in the defense of your security and prosperity now and always. Now the United States will continue to work with Japan, our allies across the region, and China to bring economic and diplomatic pressure to bear until North Korea abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. But all options are on the table.

Nevertheless, President Trump and I have great confidence that together with Japan and our allies in the region, we will protect the peace and security of this part of the world and achieve our shared goal of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

Now security is the foundation of our prosperity. But promoting prosperity is actually the main reason that I had the privilege of meeting today with your deputy prime minister. At the direction of President Trump and Prime Minister Abe, today Deputy Prime Minister Aso and I have the great privilege to formally launch the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue.

This dialogue presents the United States and Japan with an opportunity to deepen our bilateral economic ties and to foster jobs, prosperity, and growth on both sides of the Atlantic [sic]. We're building on a strong foundation. But as the Prime Minister said, our economies have been intertwined for generations, and this is a new day and a new chapter in relations between the United States and Japan.

Every day, though, our nations already exchange goods and services that improve people’s lives and help businesses on both sides of the Pacific succeed. Japan is the United States’ fourth largest goods trading partner and our fourth largest goods export market. And Japan is one of America’s leading investors. Japanese foreign direct investment in the United States now totals more than $400 billion, the second-most of any nation.

I saw that firsthand back in my old job when I was governor of Indiana, how trade and investment between our countries can be beneficial to us all. In 2013 and again in 2015, I led a group of Indiana businesses and community leaders here to Japan to foster closer economic ties, create jobs, and spur opportunity and growth.

Today the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue seeks the very same objectives for both of our countries in full. It signifies President Trump’s commitment to strengthening our economic relationship with Japan using a bilateral approach.

Today’s meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Aso was an opportunity for us to broadly discuss how we view the dialogue structure and goals. The Prime Minister and I agreed that the dialogue will focus on three key policy pillars, as he just discussed. The first is a “common strategy on trade and investment rules and issues.” Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States seeks stronger and more balanced bilateral trade relationships with every country, including Japan. Our goal is simple: We seek trade that is free and we seek trade that is fair.

This requires breaking down barriers, leveling the playing field so that American companies and exporters can enjoy high levels of market access.

The second pillar involves economic and structural policies with a specific focus on fiscal and monetary issues. President Trump believes that both the United States and Japan can enact pro-growth and fiscally sustainable monetary and budgetary policies, a key to both of our long-term economic success.

The final pillar is what we call sectoral cooperation. The President and I are confident that we can find new ways to expand our economic ties with Japan in different sectors and different industries. American and Japanese businesses have much to offer each other. By working together, we can ensure that our two nations’ economic leadership grows even stronger in the years ahead to the benefit of all of our people.

This is an important day for the partnership between the United States and Japan, and I’m deeply humbled to be a part of it. The U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue will provide us with a new forum to address the economic issues that are crucial to our long-term success. The relevant U.S. agencies -- the Department of Commerce, the Department of Treasury, and the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office will lead discussions for each of these three pillars, focusing on concrete economic results in the near term and reporting back to my office.

The Deputy Prime Minister and I look forward to receiving input on the progress and accomplishment from these agencies over the coming months, and we have agreed to meet again by the end of the year to discuss the progress in each area.

President Trump and I are confident that working with Prime Minister Abe and Deputy Prime Minister Aso, we will open a new chapter of opportunity and agreement for both our people.

The President is working tirelessly to create forward momentum to deepen our bilateral economic partnership with Japan. And today’s announcement is a reflection of that. President Trump and I are grateful that Prime Minister Abe and Deputy Prime Minister Aso share our goal of a mutually beneficial economic relationship, and we look forward to working with them through the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue to achieve our vision of an equal partnership that creates jobs and prosperity and growth in the United States and in Japan on an equal basis.

We have before us a historic opportunity, and today I say with confidence based on our first discussions we will seize this opportunity. We will take this moment to strengthen the ties of commerce and friendship that exist between our people. And I believe we will usher in a new era of prosperity for ourselves and for future generations.

There is a closeness between our people that is best described with a Japanese word, and it does not have a corollary in the English language. But I learned it a while ago. As governor of Indiana, I had the opportunity to understand and appreciate the more than 250 Japanese companies that had decided to make Indiana home. The word is kizuna, and it is a reflection of a close relationship -- a relationship of understanding and of mutual respect. And I can't help but feel today that we're renewing that relationship on that foundation as we initiate this important U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue.

So thank you again, Mr. Deputy Prime Minister, for hosting me here today. I look forward to this work with great anticipation.

Q (As interpreted.) I have both questions to Mr. Aso and Vice President Pence. Trump administration declared they would withdraw from TPP. And within Japan great attention is drawn to what is going to be the U.S. trade policy going forward. Mr. Lighthizer, USTR nominee, said that in the agricultural area trading and negotiation Japan will be the first to target. So what will be the trade negotiation going forward between Japan and U.S.? What is the outlook? Are you looking for concluding Japan-U.S. FTA in the end?

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER ASO: Thank you, now can I answer your question first?

Well, at the Economic Dialogue this time as the common strategy on trade and investment rules and issues, free and fair rule-based trade and investment is an indispensable value and action principle for realizing the growth and prosperity not only for Japan and the United States but for the rest of the global economy, as well.

And on this course, once again Vice President Pence and I were able to confirm this. And based on that, having a good understanding about the situations underway in the Asian Pacific, it’s important that Japan-U.S. should lead the rulemaking process in the region. I think it’s very important, and we've been discussing that concretely -- not only to strengthen trade and investment flow bilaterally, but also Japan-U.S. can play pivotal role in spreading high-level, fair rules over Asia and the Pacific region.

We like to strengthen economic aspect of Japan-U.S. alliance, and we've been discussing that.

And looking at the Japan-U.S. economic relationship, it used to be described as being an economic fiction. We started with the word fiction. And fiction used to be the symbol of our bilateral relationship, but no longer. We are now in the era of cooperation between our two countries.

It’s not a matter of which sides say what to the other side. From the big picture and strategic point of view, we would like to seek the best shape and forum of bilateral framework and define its significance and have a good constructive discussion. And I think we were able to mark a first step toward that.

Thank you.

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Well, thank you for your comments, Mr. Deputy Prime Minister.

And in response to the question let me say with great respect to those who worked on the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the past, the TPP is a thing of the past for the United States of America. The Trump administration has made a decision and taken steps to formally withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and that will be our policy going forward.

But today I think gives evidence to the fact that the United States of America is determined to reach out to our partners here in the Asian Pacific and around the world to at least begin to explore the possibility of expanded economic opportunities, including trade, on a bilateral basis.

President Trump truly does believe that it’s in the interests of the United States of America to negotiate trade agreements on a bilateral basis. That creates a framework within which countries can better assess whether the deal itself is -- what we call a win-win arrangement.

But today I think what the Deputy Prime Minister has said so eloquently is that today we're beginning a process of an economic dialogue, the end of which may result in bilateral trade negotiations in the future.

But we're beginning that conversation today, beginning to identify areas that we can enhance and strengthen the economic interaction between our two nations. And at some point in the future, there may be a decision made between our nations to take what we have learned in this dialogue and commence formal negotiations for a free-trade agreement.

But I’ll leave that to the future, but tell you that these discussions are very much a reflection of the President’s view that negotiating at arms’ length on a bilateral basis with nations is the best path forward for the United States, the best path forward for the nations with whom we enter into such agreements, and I think in the days ahead you’ll continue to see the United States work on a bilateral basis with countries around the world to expand jobs and opportunity for our people and the prosperity of the world at large.

Q Thank you very much. Vice President Pence, you've said that the United States will increase diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea. Today we heard Prime Minister Abe say that while he agrees with that, and we shouldn’t have dialogue for dialogue’s sake, Japan also places paramount importance on the need to seek a diplomatic effort to achieve a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

My question is: What exactly must North Korea do? What are the conditions for beginning that dialogue? And what form should that dialogue take?

And for Deputy Prime Minister Aso, President Trump during his campaign often called on Japan to share more of the burden for common defense and pay more for U.S. security presence here in Japan. What specifically is Japan prepared to do to respond to President Trump’s call?

(Speaks Japanese.)

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: Thank you, Josh. Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula has been the longstanding policy of the United States of America, of South Korea, of Japan, of China, and it’s been the longstanding policy of nations across the world.

For more than a generation, we've seen the very failure of dialogue writ large. First we remember the agreed framework of the 1990s, then we remember the six-party talks. And with good-faith efforts by nations around the world again and again, North Korea met those efforts and resolution with broken promises and more provocations.

That's why we've said the era of strategic patience is over. And President Trump has made it very clear: The policy of the United States of America will be to reach out to our allies in the region here in Japan where I just had a productive conversation with Prime Minister Abe on this topic. Yesterday, in South Korea, where I met with officials in the National Assembly and acting President Hwang.

President Trump recently met with President Xi, and the President of China reaffirmed China’s commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. It is our belief that by bringing together the family of nations with diplomatic and economic pressure, we have a chance -- we have a chance -- to achieve our objective of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

Now all options are on the table, and there they will remain. But President Trump and I and our administration believes the most productive pathway forward is dialogue among the family of nations that can isolate and pressure North Korea into abandoning permanently and dismantling its nuclear weapons program and its ballistic missile program.

As Prime Minister Abe said today in our brief conversation, dialogue for the sake of dialogue is valueless. It is necessary for us to exercise pressure, and the United States of America believes the time has come for the international community to use both diplomatic and economic pressure to bring North Korea to a place that it has avoided successfully now for more than a generation. And we will not rest and we will not relent until we achieve the objective of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER ASO: Washington Post, my English hearing is still good enough. But if I may say in Japanese.

(As interpreted.) Well, economic dialogue, TPP -- whether the TPP can be made as a foundation for a dialogue going forward, is that what you said?

Sorry. Then my English hearing is absolutely wrong. Would you mind repeating the question again?

Q Minister Aso, President Trump during his campaign often called on Japan to share more of the burden for common defense and pay more money for U.S. security presence here in Japan. What is Japan willing to do to respond to President Trump’s calls for a better deal for the United States in the U.S.-Japan security relationship?

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER ASO: I think I got a picture. Response in Japanese is okay, right?

(As interpreted.) Now, responding to your question, let’s look at Japanese defense. Just the other day -- Mr. James Mattis, Defense Secretary, came to Japan, at which occasion I had an opportunity to talk with him.

At least look at Okinawa’s host nation’s support -- host nation’s support came up as a topic. And he said that Japan is behaving like a textbook case -- 75 percent is paid to the Okinawa host nation; ROK -- 40 percent; 30 percent Germany; and 20 percent Italy. That is a burden share. And I think whole picture was understood by General Mattis.

And also just lately when the Abe Cabinet was formed, look at the defense expenditure -- how it is being allocated. The navy is the crucial area where more budget allocation has been done, followed by air and the land. And I think this is the most appropriate allocation of the defense budget.

So at least -- ever since inclusive by General Mattis and other military personnel of the United States with regard to the Japanese defense or discontent, at least no message has been given to us from the United States as far as I know. So we will continue to make mutual effort and try to share the information as much as possible going forward, and particularly look at the East China Sea and Korean Peninsula and Sea of Japan. Certain fictions might arise. So information exchange is particularly important -- intelligence sharing and the information sharing has to continue in appropriate manner most of all because of the situation we are in.

By White House

After a roughly 15 minute motorcade from the temple, the Vice President arrived at his lodgings for the evening.

At 19:57 we have a lid. Good night.

Reported by Andrew Beatty

A clarification, the Pence family were shoeless rather than barefoot. Sorry.

Reported by Andrew Beatty

Sensoji temple

At 17:38 the vice presidential motorcade departed the PM's official residence and headed to the Sensoji temple, which we reached about 15 minutes later.

The pool entered the vast edifice through enormous black lacquered doors, and preset in the main tatami floored central area.

There was a large golden-colored altar which featured multiple adornments. In front were two large lanterns, several flower arrangements and a bowl holding burning incense, which filled the room with a perfumed resin aroma.

Barefoot, the Pence family stood in front of the altar for a minute before moving on.

The pool is now holding in vans awaiting our journey to the hotel while the Vice President speaks to CNN.
Reported by Andrew Beatty


Today, Vice President Mike Pence met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in Tokyo, Japan. The Vice President reaffirmed the Administration's steadfast commitment to the U.S.-Japan Alliance and underscored its role as the cornerstone of peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region. Vice President Pence and Prime Minister Abe discussed the importance of maintaining close coordination, including trilaterally with the Republic of Korea, regarding the growing North Korean threat. They also consulted on ways to enhance cooperation on regional and global security issues of mutual concern.

economic dialogue.

At 14:20, inside the Kantei the PM's official residence, VPOTUS and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso walked into a elegant modern conference room with high glass windows on one side that gave onto an outdoor rock garden.

In the center of the room was a long table with nine chairs on each side.

Your pool was preset inside.

Among the VPOTUS delegation were Mark Calabria, Andrea Thompson, Aiko Lane, Kelly Swaine and Josh Pitcock.

Aso and Pence shook hands in front of the Japanese and American flags, prompting a sustained volley of camera flashes.

Aso's translated remarks were not very audible, but he appeared to say that a period of economic friction had passed "we are in an age of cooperation."

VPOTUS said President Trump envisaged the coming economic dialogue as a mechanism to enhance cooperation, with results in the "near future", VPOTUS said he shared that vision and "impatience."

He said discussions would focus on three main areas: "Economic and structural policy, common strategy on trade and investment and sectoral cooperation."

Your pool was then led out. We are holding in the room where Aso and the VP will have a press conference shortly. That event is open press.

Reported by Andrew Beatty


VPOTUS travel pool report 5 PM's residence

At 13:34 the motorcade pulled into the PM's residence in Tokyo. A tight pool was brought into a meeting room downstairs, featuring two American and two Japanese flags.

The US delegation included Wilber Ross and Andrea Thompson.

VPOTUS and Abe shook hands and then Abe opened remarks. He offered Pence a "wholehearted welcome" to Japan and said the visit was "extremely timely" given events on the Korean Peninsula.

"Through your visit my hope is to send a clear message that the robust bond between our alliance is unwavering."

Abe emphasized the need for a peaceful solution to the North Korea crisis saying "it is a matter of paramount importance for us to seek diplomatic efforts as well as peaceable settlements of the issue."

"At the same time dialogue for the sake of dialogue is valueless and is necessary for us to exercise pressure."

"Japan certainly values your stance that all options are on the table."

VPOTUS said: "I bring greetings on behalf of your friend the President of the United States."

He added "The alliance between the United States and Japan is he cornerstone of peace and security in North East Asia"

In the face of security threats, VPOTUS said "We are with you 100%."

"President Trump is determined to work closely with Japan, with South Korea with all our allies in the region, and with China, to achieve a peaceable solution and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

"We seek peace always as a country, as does Japan" he said. "But as you know peace comes through strength."

Re the commencement of US-Japan economic dialogue, "I look forward to announcing a framework" for that dialogue with deputy PM today.

Reported by Andrew Beatty


VPOTUS pool report 4 - Japan arrival

After a roughly two hour 15 minute flight -- offering magnificent Hokusai-style views of Mount Fuji's snow capped peak set against the surf and ink-black volcanic sands of the Pacific coast -- AF2 touched down at Atsugi Naval Base at 12:14 local time.

VPOTUS took a few minutes to get off the plane, leaving your poolers to enjoy the sunshine and salty sea breeze -- a very welcome change from the recycled air of planes, hotels and conference rooms of the last few days.

After VPOTUS emerged from the aircraft, he was greeted on the tarmac by, among others, the US embassy charge d'affaires Jason Hyland, state minister Kentaro Sonoura and USFJ Lieutenant General Jerry Martinez.

At 12:46 we are jumping in the motorcade and moving to VPOTUS' first event, the lunch with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Reported By Andrew Beatty