September 7, 2018 / 4:54 PM / 18 days ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Trump says U.S. and Japan have begun talks on trade

(Corrects quote in 1st and 3rd paragraphs to say “big problem” instead of “big deal”. Incorporates earlier correction changing date of CNBC report in paragraph 5 to Thursday from Friday)

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE, Sept 7 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday the United States and Japan have begun discussion over trade, saying that Tokyo “knows it’s a big problem” if an agreement cannot be reached.

“We’re starting that,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. “In fact Japan has called us ... they came last week.”

“If we don’t make a deal with Japan, Japan knows it’s a big problem,” he added.

Trump, who is already challenging China, Mexico, Canada and the European Union on trade issues, has expressed displeasure about his country’s large trade deficit with Japan, but had not asked Tokyo to take specific steps to address the imbalance.

On Thursday, though, CNBC reported he had told a Wall Street Journal columnist he might take on trade issues with Japan, causing the dollar to slip against the yen. (Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Chris Reese)

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