Cook visited Apple supplier Seiko Advance in Tokyo, met with developers in the area, visited a primary school, and stopped by several local Apple Stores.
Cook said that Apple does manufacturing by looking at "all countries" and seeing what skills are available. "We pick the best," Cook said. He pointed out that Apple has created well over two million jobs in the United States, and says there's "enormous manufacturing" happening there. "Just not the assembly of the final product," he said.
On the topic of Apple's ability to innovate, Cook said that the smartphone market has not yet reached its peak and there are still advancements to come.
"I know of no one who would call a 12-year-old mature," he said. "Sometimes these steps are humongous, sometimes these steps are smaller. But the key is to always make things better, not just change for change's sake."
"The ethos and the DNA of the company have never been stronger on the innovation front. The product line has never been stronger."
Cook went on to say that he believes Apple's greatest contribution to humankind will be in health, something that he's said several times before. He specifically pointed out the ECG function of the Apple Watch as evidence of Apple's progress.
Cook also spoke about competition and monopolies, claiming that Apple has "more competitors than any company on earth." Apple is facing regulatory investigations in the United States and Europe over its App Store policies amid accusations that Apple has an unfair advantage over third-party app developers.
"A monopoly by itself isn't bad if it's not abused," Cook said, while insisting that Apple does not have a monopoly in any sector. "The question for those companies is, do they abuse it? And that is for regulators to decide, not for me to decide."
Cook ended the interview with a spiel on privacy, a topic that he often covers. He reiterated once again that customers are not Apple's product, and that Apple does not believe in trafficking data.
Tim Cook's full interview with Nikkei can be read over on the Nikkei website.