This is Trump's second official state visit to Japan since becoming president.
Trump spoke to reporters on the South Lawn for a little less than 15 minutes before boarding Marine One the depart for the 5-day trip. When asked about the intentions and plans for the visit, Trump ignored those reporters' questions.
He did answer several other questions centered around the Russia report, his strained relationship with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the 'transparency' of his Attorney General Bill Barr.
The Japan trip is centered around the enthronement of the new Japanese emperor and takes place over Memorial Day weekend. This will be the first time Trump has not been in the U.S. during the holiday that honors fallen soldiers.
Trump took several questions from reporters on the South Lawn before jetting off in Marine One, but didn't answer any related to the Japan trip
This is Trump's second official state visit to Japan since taking office
A portion of the five-day trip falls on Memorial Day Weekend, and this will be the first time Trump will not be in the U.S. for the holiday honoring fallen soldiers
In 2017 and 2018, he made remarks at Arlington National Cemetery where he also laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier both years.
Trump stopped at the cemetery earlier this week to honor soldiers who lost their lives while serving in the military.
The president and first lady are the first state guests of Emperor Naruhito, who ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1, following his father's early abdication.
The U.S. president will hold bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and give a Memorial Day speech to troops stationed at an American naval base in Yokosuka before he and Melania return to Washington.
Over the long weekend, Trump will be the guest of honor at cultural events intended to flatter the visiting leader - including a sumo wrestling tournament where he'll present the winner with a prize – and showcase the strength of the nations' friendship.
At the naval base he is expected to inspect one of Japan's largest warships, the JS Kaga, which is being fitted out as what will be effectively the country's first aircraft carrier since 1945.
'As Japan's first state guests following the enthronement of His Majesty Emperor Naruhito on the first of May, this visit by the President comes really at a historic moment in Japan and it demonstrates that the alliance between the United States and Japan has never been stronger,' a senior White House official told press in advance of the first couple's visit.
President Donald Trump heads to Tokyo on Friday for the second time in his presidency on an official state visit that's tied to the enthronement of the new Japanese emperor
Mongolian Tamawashi (L) and ozeki Takayasu (R) compete on day seven of the Grand Sumo May Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan on May 17, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. Trump and Abe will attend the final day of the tournament this weekend
The U.S. president says he will give the winner of the tournament a prize, which is not being referred to informally in Japan as the Trump Cup
Japan's new Emperor Naruhito (L) and Empress Masako (R) wave to well-wishers during their first appearance after ascension at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on May 4. They'll host Donald and Melania Trump as their first state guests next week
Firepower: Trump is expected to inspect the JS Kaga, a helicopter carrier which is to become the Japanese naval defense force's first full-scale aircraft carrier since World War II
'The alliance serves as the cornerstone of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region,' the U.S. official added. 'The United States' and Japan's shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific serves as the foundation for a global partnership that strengthens security, prosperity, and a rules-based order around the world.'
Touchy topics like regional security and trade are not on the agenda, however.
Little heavy lifting is anticipated on the visit that precedes the meatier gathering of leaders of the world's largest economies next month.
'I think that it's going to be a very kind of cordial, though kind of staged moment,' said Annika Culver, associate professor of East Asian history at Florida State University.
'I doubt there's going to be anything really kind of accomplished, but these kind of important continuance or feeling of positive relations.'
The American president's trade war with China and his desire to enter into an economic agreement with Japan have been put on the back burner.
'I don't think that the purpose of this trip is to focus on trade. It's really to be state guests of Their Majesties. And that's really the heart of the visit,' the U.S. official who spoke to press said. 'It's a celebration of their new roles and this new era that's been kicked off -- the Reiwa era -- and a chance to celebrate the alliance.'
Trump will return to Japan in June for the convening of Group of 20 leaders that's taking place this year in Osaka.
He says he'll have summits with China's Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the annual event and travel to South Korea while he's in the region to meet with President Moon Jae-in.
Trump is set to acknowledge the strained relations with North Korea while he is in Japan in his Memorial Day address, the senior aide to the president indicated.
The official said Trump would 'talk about the importance of the alliance in deterring aggression in the region,' in what appeared to be a reference to Pyongyang's recent missile test.
Abe has invited Trump to inspect the JS Kaga, the country's second-largest warship. It is currently a helicopter carrier but it is to be equipped with F-35B strike fighters, making it effectively the country's first aircraft carrier since the end of World War II.
The Kaga's namesake was sunk in the Battle of Midway in 1942.
Japan is investing heavily in its self-defense forces over fears of Chinese and North Korean incursions.
The country's constitution forbids it from re-militarizing but allows self-defense forces, and Abe's administration has stepped up defense spending.
The symbolic nature of a fully-equipped aircraft carrier is seen as a powerful statement by the Japanese government.
Yokosuka is currently home to the U.S. Navy's Carrier Strike Group Five, whose flagship is the Nimitz-class nuclear-power aircraft carrier the USS Ronald