President Donald Trump pushed for more "reciprocal" trade in Tokyo on the second day of his Asian tour and suggested that Japanese automakers "try building your cars in the United States instead of shipping them over."
Despite Trump's request, about 75 percent of Japanese-brand vehicles sold in the U.S. are already built in North America, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association. Trump's statement came during a meeting with Japanese business executives on Monday morning overseas, according to Politico.
The manufacturing group said that, as of 2015, Japanese automakers operated at least 26 manufacturing plants and 36 research and development facilities in the U.S.
Japanese automakers manufacturing in the U.S. includes Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi, and the country's car companies built 3.9 million vehicles in the U.S. in 2015, according to JAMA.
"The United States has suffered massive trade deficits at the hands of Japan for many, many years," Trump said, according to a Reuters report.
The U.S. has a $69 billion trade deficit with Japan.
He praised Japan for buying U.S. military hardware, which he said was the "best military equipment in the world," but added that "many millions of cars are sold by Japan into the United States, whereas virtually no cars go from the United States into Japan."
"We want free and reciprocal trade, but right now our trade with Japan is not free and it's not reciprocal and I know it will be and we've started the process," Trump added. "I have no doubt that it will be done in a quick and very friendly manner."
— Reuters contributed to this article.
Correction: An earlier headline misstated the context of the president's request.