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While British Prime Minister Theresa May was the first foreign leader to visit after the inauguration, a step toward solidifying the long-touted "special relationship" between the U.S. and the U.K., this is actually the second time that Trump is meeting with Abe.
Abe was the first foreign leader to meet with Trump after he was elected. During that Nov. 17 visit in Trump Tower, a week after the election, Abe also met with Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, who is now a senior advisor to Trump on national security.
In a brief news conference following the roughly 90-minute meeting, Abe called Trump "a leader who I can have great confidence in," and said that their talk was "very candid, very cordial," according to a translation of his remarks.
Caroline Kennedy said in a December interview that the fact that Abe was the first foreign leader to meet with Trump "sends a signal of how powerful this alliance is" between the U.S. and Japan.
"No one knows exactly what’s ahead," said Kennedy, who served as the American ambassador to Japan during President Obama’s second term, "but I think that the alliance is still important to the U.S. and I think we should all be confident that it will remain strong."
That Trump Tower meeting wasn’t the only time Trump and Abe have interacted since he was elected. On Saturday Jan. 27, Trump included Abe on a list of seven world leaders —- including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin —- that he spoke to by phone.
Now the two men are set to spend the most time together yet, as they are going to meet in Washington today, but extend the visit into the weekend. Following meetings in D.C. that will likely focus on defense and economic cooperation, Abe and his wife, Akie Abe, will fly to Trump's "Winter White House," the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, for weekend golfing. Abe gifted Trump a high-end golf driver when the pair met at Trump Tower in New York last November.
The Mar-a-Lago visit will also make Abe the first known foreign leader to visit three of Trump's residences, after his visits to Trump Tower and the White House.
ABC News’ Elizabeth McLaughlin contributed to this report.