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Trump says Japan's economy is not 'as good as ours' and should stay that way

  • President Donald Trump said on Monday that Japan's economy was not "as good" as the U.S.

President Donald Trump on Monday made an eyebrow-raising remark during a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo.

Calling Abe by his first name, the Republican took a zero-sum approach in comparing the Japanese and U.S economies.

"The Japanese people are thriving, your cities are vibrant and you've built one of the world's most powerful economies. I don't know if it's as good as ours, I think not ... And we're going to try and keep it that way but you'll be second."

Given the president's delivery, it did not appear the insistence on Japan's inferiority was part of Trump's official script. China is currently the world's second-largest economy, followed by Japan.

The U.S. head of state is in Asia for a landmark tour and arrived in Tokyo on Nov. 5.

President Donald Trump pours the remainder of his fish food out as he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe feed fish in a koi pond at the Akasaka Palace, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, in Tokyo.
Andrew Harnik | AP
President Donald Trump pours the remainder of his fish food out as he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe feed fish in a koi pond at the Akasaka Palace, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, in Tokyo.