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UPDATE 3-Trump's red carpet visit gives Japan brief reprieve on trade, pressure stays

Leika Kihara and Linda Sieg

pressure stays@

* Trump visit leaves Japan still facing trade pressure

* Japan says no pact to close trade deal in August

* Opposition suggests deal already done on farm goods

* Japan minister: No timetable set for next trade talks

* U.S.-Japan can solve difficulties on trade talks -Aso (Adds comment from finance minister, detail)

TOKYO, May 28 (Reuters) - Japan rolled out the red carpet for U.S. President Donald Trump this week, winning a brief respite in its trade battle with the United States, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces pressure to deliver concessions after a summer election.

Trump on Tuesday wound up a four-day state visit featuring golf, sumo, a state dinner with Emperor Naruhito and inspections of U.S. and Japanese warships meant to showcase the alliance, but shadowed by a feud over the two-way trade gap.

After his Monday summit with Abe, Trump said he expected the allies to be "announcing some things, probably in August, that will be very good for both countries" on trade.

On Tuesday, however, Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said the U.S. leader's comment probably reflected his hope for quick progress in the trade talks.

"When you look at the exact wording of his comments, you can see that the president was voicing his hopes of swift progress in talks toward something that is mutually beneficial," Motegi told reporters at a regular cabinet meeting.

Concessions on trade before an upper house election in July could upset Japanese voters, especially farmers, who are important backers of Abe's Liberal Democratic Party, although consumers might welcome cheaper food products.

Japanese officials have denied that the two countries had agreed to reach a trade deal by August.

Opposition parties said farmers would be in the line of fire after the election, adding that Trump had said "agriculture and beef were heavily in play" on Twitter on Sunday.

"Trump's comments can only be taken to mean that Japan has in fact made major concessions on agriculture and livestock," Yukio Edano, head of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) told a news conference.

"We cannot allow them to fight the upper house election by hiding this," media quoted Edano as saying.


The United States wants Japan to cut tariffs on U.S. farm products to restore their competitiveness after Trump shunned an 11-nation Pacific trade pact. Japan has signalled it might cut the levies to levels in the pact, the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP).

Some experts saw an assertion from Trump that he had "nothing to do" with the TPP as suggesting he wanted deeper cuts, while Motegi stressed the two countries had agreed in a September deal that market access steps, or tariff cuts, for farm goods would not exceed those of Japan's other deals, such as the TPP.

Trump has also declared that some imported vehicles and parts posed a national security threat but delayed a decision on imposing tariffs for as long as six months, allowing more time for trade talks with Japan and the European Union.

Japan opposes any limits on its exports, which would violate World Trade Organisation rules.

Motegi, who is in charge of trade talks, said his meeting in Tokyo last week with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer made clear that differences remain, but no timetable has been set for more talks.

Some diplomatic experts said Abe had probably got the best results he could hope for, despite worries over trade and other differences with the United States, such as over how to tackle North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

"You cannot embrace this president with nuance. If you are going to do it, you might as well embrace him fully," said Toshihiro Nakayama, a Japan fellow at the Wilson Center in Washington.

"Overall, I would say that it was a successful ceremonial event. What more can you expect?"

Finance Minister Taro Aso later said Japanese carmakers produced more than 3 million cars a year in the United States, twice as many as they exported there. Japanese firms have invested $469 billion in the United States and employed more than 860,000 Americans.

"Toyota announced that they are going to invest $13 billion in the United States in the next three years. More Japanese companies will follow suit, creating even more jobs," Aso told a seminar.

"The U.S. and Japan can work out common challenges down the road. Between us, trade talks are going on and we can solve whatever difficulties that lie ahead."

Trump is expected to return to Japan next month for a G20 summit. (Addiitional reporting by Kaori Kaneko, Yoshifumi Takemoto, Izumi Nakagawa and Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Clarence Fernandez)