Melania and Donald Trump
© AP
Donald Trump and Melania Trump arrive at the Haneda International Airport in Japan.
President Trump's trip to Japan started with a bang - a magnitude-5.1 earthquake centered near the golf course where he and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are scheduled to play golf Sunday.

The temblor, which rattled Tokyo just hours before Trump's arrival, briefly halted nearby bullet trains but did not derail the leaders' plans for their first meeting of the four-day visit at the Mobara Country Club in Chiba.

Trump spoke to Japanese business leaders at a reception hosted by US Ambassador William Hagerty shortly after his arrival late Saturday, where he teased them about trade.

"I would say that Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years, but that's OK," Trump said. "Maybe that's why you like us so much."

He said the US and Japan "are hard at work" negotiating a bilateral trade agreement more favorable to American business.

"With this deal we hope to address the trade imbalance, removing barriers to United States exports and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship," he told executives from Toyota, Nissan, Honda, SoftBank and other major companies.

But hours later, Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan's Minister for Economic and Fiscal Policy, sounded a pessimistic note.

"So far, Japan and the US haven't gained common ground. We will work to bridge the gap," Motegi told reporters after meeting with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. "It is unlikely any trade deal will be reached" ahead of Monday's scheduled summit between Abe and Trump, he said.

The US is seeking greater access to the Japanese market for American beef, pork and wheat products, while Japan is pushing for the removal of tariffs on industrial products like automobiles.

Before they get down to business, the two leaders will attend a championship sumo wrestling match, where Trump will award the "President's Cup" to the winner.

The trophy is 5 feet tall and weighs between 60 and 70 pounds, the White House revealed.

The Trumps and Abes will meet for a private "couples dinner" Sunday night. On Monday, the president and first lady will be guests of Japan's imperial family at a state dinner - the first international event to be hosted by the nation's newly crowned Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako.

Before his Tuesday departure, Trump will become the first US president to tour a Japanese warship with a visit to the JS Kaga.

The vessel, one of the largest ships in Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force, will soon be overhauled to carry fighter jets - making it, in effect, Japan's first aircraft carrier since the destruction of its navy in World War II.