• Kyodo


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declined to disclose the result of his high-profile rounds of golf last month with U.S. President Donald Trump in Florida, joking that it’s a “national secret.”

Looking back at the total of 27 holes he played on two different courses with Trump in one day, Abe told a convention of his Liberal Democratic Party in Tokyo on Sunday that he was impressed with the president’s golfing skills.

“Which side won is a national secret. President Trump was indeed good. He is a wonderful player,” Abe said in his address, adding that his own opening shot was probably among the best five of his life.

On Thursday, Abe confided to coalition lawmakers that he had wondered about golfing with the U.S. leader at a time when the Trump administration’s immigration policy was being heavily criticized both in the United States and abroad, according to one of them.

“I had wondered about playing golf and being chummy with someone who was being criticized around the world on human rights issues,” Abe was quoted as telling them.

The prime minister also told the lawmakers over dinner at his official residence that Trump shot the ball into a pond twice during their rounds, while Abe hit the green on his first shot.

Shortly after his return from the United States, Abe said on a TV program that he and Trump were able to “candidly talk” about regional affairs and the Japan-U.S. defense alliance while playing golf together.

Following their first summit, held in the White House, the two leaders flew on Air Force One from Washington to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago vacation estate in Palm Beach, Florida, on Feb. 10. The following day, they took to two different Trump-branded courses and played golf for about five hours.

On Twitter, Trump said Japan was “well-represented” by Abe and posted a photo of the two leaders apparently after teeing off on one of the holes.

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