As the first foreign leader to meet Trump since the election, Abe presented Trump with a 'made-in-Japan' golden golf club to reinforce mutual trust between the two countries. However, the club was manufactured by a company that, while originally Japanese, has since been acquired by a Chinese enterprise, China’s official newspaper reported.
According to the website of Honma Golf Ltd., Honma Golf Co. went bankrupt in 2005, and Chinese businessman Liu Jianguo acquired the Honma group in 2010.
Tomoo Marukawa, a professor at the University of Tokyo, argued that this fact could actually give the present more significance. By offering a gift that represents globalization to a man who encourages protectionism, the golf club could be viewed as a concealed warning from Japan, Newsweek Japan reports.
The newspaper Japan Times spoke to a spokesman for Honma Golf Co. who said the firm recently sold one of its most expensive golf clubs from its BERES series, priced at ¥500,000 ($4,500) to Japan’s Foreign Ministry.
The firm doesn’t know who ended up with the club, the spokesman said. The Foreign Ministry declined to comment, according to the report.
Abe was the first foreign leader to meet Trump in New York on November 17. After the meeting he expressed hope for establishing trust-based relations between them and characterized Trump as a trustworthy partner, media reported.