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The trade figures were reported as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits the United States for meetings with U.S. President Donald Trump, who has complained repeatedly about the trade imbalance with Japan. He was greeted by President Trump for two days of meetings and events.

The exact location of President Trump and Kim Jong Un's meeting has not yet been disclosed.

Abe will want to make sure Trump doesn't cut a deal with North Korea that leaves Japan exposed to shorter-range missiles that do not threaten the US mainland.

In the first news report about the meeting, The Washington Post said it had taken place two weeks ago, shortly after the Central Intelligence Agency chief was nominated to become secretary of state.

But Trump says if he's offered "a deal we can't refuse", he would be willing to re-enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Trump insisted his administration was working to secure the return of three Americans being held in North Korea even after his Central Intelligence Agency director visited the country without bringing them home.

Japan has also been questioning why it wasn't granted exemptions to Trump's protectionist measures on steel and aluminum when most other key US allies - among them Australia, Canada, the European Union and Mexico - have been.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday they had agreed to intensify trade consultations between the two longtime allies.

Before Tuesday's talks, Trump said that "Japan is buying a tremendous amount of military equipment from the U.S.".

On the second day, their summit was set to broaden to delegation-level talks on trade and energy strategies in the Indo-Pacific, with time to spare for a round of golf for Mr Trump and Mr Abe.

"They do have my blessing to discuss the end of the war", Trump said. "I am very grateful for your commitment", he told Trump.

Abe specifically pointed to Trump's military posture as the factor that brought about "major change" on the Korean Peninsula. -North Korea talks did not go well. Five have been returned to Japan. Akie is well-known for her high-spiritedness, and it's rumored she pretend not to speak English to avoid conversing with her husband's new bestie while they hosted the newly minted US president in Japan. And he paid little heed to Abe's warnings about North Korea - instead indicating that preparations for talks are moving forward rapidly.