The president of the United States and the prime minister of Japan toasted one another and the spirit of freedom and free enterprise last night, after a long day of discussions which Ronald Reagan called "positive and constructive."

Reagan's toast to Zenko Suzuki at the White House state dinner in the prime minister's honor stressed the spirit of cooperation and competition that has marked American-Japanese relations. "We have been principal trading partners and chief competitors," he said, and then he told a long Japanese story about rival singers in two villages and how their competitive spirit improved the singing of each.

In his toast, Suzuki expressed the Japanese people's admiration of Reagan's "calm presence of mind and admirable sense of humor" after the recent assassination attempt. He also praised the "heroic achievement" of the space shuttle Columbia. "Although it was 3 a.m. local time, over 3 million Japanese sat glued to their television sets" to watch Columbia return to earth, he said.

One of the points in common that the two national leaders had discussed during the day was the fact that they are both 70 years old -- "Both proud of being a youthful 70" -- as Suzuki put it. Turning to Reagan, he said, "I cannot match your youth and vitality. This is because I was born 26 days before you, which gives you a big edge."

Reagan said that in view of the 26-day difference in their ages, Suzuki told him that "form here on our relationship would be one in which he would be the elder brother."

During his toast, Suzuki also congratulated the president on one of the prime topics of discussion at the White House last night, "Your great victory today, as your budget passed Congress."

After the toasts, which were given in English and Japanese, the stars and the politicians talked about acting and poltics. On the Truman balcony, Clint Eastwood and National Security Adviser Richard V. Allen talked about "The Eiger Sanction," which Allen said he had seen five times, and about Eastwood's next film. "That's about the Soviet Union, so I'll see that one at least six times," said Allen.

Eastwood was reminiscing about a trip he made to Japan in the mid-1960s when "Rawhide" was the No. 1 television show there, when a telephone rang on the balcony. Eastwood looked around, then picked it up, saying, "I told you never to call me here."

Inside, in the Red Room, closer to the warmth of the coffee and brandy, and to Ronald and Nancy Reagan, was "Shogun" star Richard Chamberlain. He promised Carolyn Deaver that he would teach her son to sword-fight. The president, who was wearing a dress shirt with horizontal ruffles, posed for pictures with his Japanese visitors and accepted business cards from them.

During the dinner protocol chief Leonore Annenberg's curtsy last week to England's Prince Charles was till a subject of conversation. Mrs. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. told Annenberg she was "absolutely right" in doing what she did, and Annenberg replied that "she was feeling bruised about all the criticism."

After dining on pached halibut veronique, roast tenderloin of beef, potatoes with artichoke hearts and asparagus hollandaise, the guests moved to the East Room, where soporano Shirley Verrett sang a program of Schubert Lieder, Verdi arias and American songs, including the spiritual, "Every Time I Feel the Spirit" and "Summertime" from "Porgy and Bess."

She surprised the prime minister with a traditional Japanese song, "Sakura," which she sang for the first time in public. Shortly after midway in the program, two marines began to try to bring a microphone onstange (for the president's speech ending the formal part of the evening) after each number. Verrett stopped them each time with a look and, near the end, said, "I have two more arias on the program, don't I?" When he finally came up to make his final, brief speech, Reagan looked at the microphone and said apologetically to Verrett, "I need it."

"I understand," said Verrett.

Before the entertainment, Sen. Henry Jackson (D-Wash.), whose dinner companion was his 18-year-old daughter Anna Marie, joined the president briefly. He said his serious discussion with the president didn't have anything to do with the budget. "We were talking about operations, I had one for seven hours, and I told him 'old men do well on operating tables.'" Reagan's appearance confirmed this diagnosis. On the first state occasion since his hospitalization, he was looking healthier than ever. As the night wore on, his energy seemed boundless. As he left, he pointed to the first lady and told a friend, "She says it's time for me to go to bed."

When the evening began, Prime Minister Suzuki's limousine arrived at the north portico of the White House a few minutes behind schedule, and while he waited, Reagan allowed the assembled reporters to involve him in a mini-press conference. It was made somewhat difficult by the fact that the reporters no longer stand on the portico itself, as has been the practice, but on a temporary platform erected on the other side of the driveway. On the portico, the space where reporters customarily stand was occupied by potted geraniums, artistically arranged in a sort of semicircle. The reporters shouted questions at the president, who replied through a microphone that was not working.

Does the president think his proposed tax bite will do as well in Congress as his budget has done? "Well . . ." he said, "I don't know, but I was greatly encouraged."

How did he feel about the margin of the victory? He said he was "surprised."

"How do you think Tip O'Neill is feeling tonight?" someone shouted at him across the driveway.

"Well . . . not too good."

The first lady stood silently beside him, smiling, in a long, scarlet dress with puffed sleeves, a large bow at the waist and wearing a diamond necklace.

The front-porch joviality carried over to the diplomatic entrance where actors Chamberlain, Doulgas Fairbanks Jr., Eastwood, "Shogun" author James Clavell, former television star Audrey Meadows, designer Hanae Mori, several Reagan Cabinet members, and members of Congress were strolling in. Almost all of the 100 plus guests arrived near 7:30 p.m. when Prime Minister Suzuki was scheduled to arrive.

Michael Deaver, the president's deputy cheif of staff, was bustling back and forth with a red folder. When asked what he was carrying, he joked, "It's top secret."

Chamberlain looked pleased when the press broke away from a politician, Rep. Silvio Conte (R-Mass.), to talk to him about Japan. "It's an amazing country. We were there for 6 1/2 months filming 'Shogun.' The Japanese are so utterly different from us," said Chamberlain. "Americans pride themselves on begin straightforward. The Japanese are the opposite. They have been crowded into so small a space for so long that they have incredible politeness."

The approval of the Reagan budget was again a topic. Sen. Jackson commented, "I was not surprised. The only question was the size of the vote." Rep. Conte called it "a great victory for the president's leadership."

Despite the recent voluntary limit on auto exports by the Japanese, some tensions were expected in the official meetings because Prime Minister Suzuki was miffed at not being consulted before the lifting of the Soviet grain embargo. But Treasury Secretary Donald Regan characterized the meetings as "very friendly." Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige said, "I thought the president and the prime minister established a wonderful working relationship. It was clear they both liked each other." Baldridge said the strain over the grain embargo lifting was a thing of the past. "That's been put to bed. The president said the United States looked on Japan as one of its senior allies, and there would be consultations on everything in the future."

When Clavell came in, he emphasized that he thought he was there because of his friendship with Suzuki, not because of his best sellers on the Far East. "He's a wonderful man. He has a very good sense of humor, and he's trying to be very reasonable with us." The Guests

President and Mrs. Reagan

Zenko Suzuki, prime minister of Japan, and Mrs. Suzuki

Masayoshi Ito, minister for foreign affairs

Yoshio Okawara, ambassador of Japan, and Mrs. Okawara

Tsutomu Kawara, deputy chief cabinet secretary

Takechiyo Kimura, member of the House of Representatives

Hajime Ishii, Member of the House of Representatives

Koichi Kato, member of the House of Representatives

Shinichiro Shimoio, member of the House of Councillors

Yasue Katori, deputy minister for foreign affairs

Shinichiro Asao, director-general, North American Affairs Bureau Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Sakutaro Tanino, private secretary to the prime minister

Talzo Watanabe, deputy director-general, Public Information and Cultural Affairs Bureau

David M. Abshire, chairman, Center for Strategic and International Studies of Georgetown University; vice chairman, Youth for Understanding, and Mrs. Abshire

Caroline Leonetti Ahmanson, Los Angeles, Calif.

Richard V. Allen, assistant to the president for national security affairs, and Mrs. Allen

Leonore Annenberg, chief of protocol, and Hon. Walter H. Annenberg

Robert Arthur, Beverly Hills, Calif., and Mrs. Arthur

James A. Baker III, chief of staff and assistant to the president, and Mrs. Baker

Malcolm Baldridge, secretary of commerce, and Mrs. Baldridge

Laurence I. Barrett, Time Inc.

Ruth Braley, sister of Sen. S. I. Hayakawa

Richard Chamberlain, actor, Beverly Hills, Calif.

Peter B. Clark, publisher and president, The Detroit News, and Mrs. Clark

William P. Clark, deputy secretary of state, and Mrs. Clark

A. W. Clausen, president, Bank American Corp., Hillsborough, Calif., And Mrs. Clausen

James Clavell, author, Los Angeles, Calif.

Rep. Silvio O. Conte (R-Mass.), and Mrs. Conte

Michael K. Deaver, deputy cheif of staff and assistant to the president, and Mrs. Deaver

Clint Eastwood, actor, Burbank, Calif.

Dr. Leo Esaki, 1973 Nobel Prize winner in physics

Douglas Fairbanks Jr., actor, New York City, and Mrs. Fairbanks

Alexander M. Haig, secretary of state, and Mrs. Haig

Sen. S. I. Hayakawa, (R-Calif.)

Mrs. Edwin Hilson, New York City

James D. Hodgson, former ambassador, Beverly Hills, Calif., and Mrs. Hodgson

John Holdridge, assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, and Mrs. Holdridge

Rep. Carroll Hubbard Jr. (D-Ky.), and Mrs. Hubbard

Dr. Benjamin Ichinose, Hillsboro, Calif., and Mrs. Ichinose

Anna Maria Jackson, daughter of Sen. Harry Jackson

Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D-Wash.)

U. Alexis Johnson, former ambassador, Washington, D.C.

Earle M. Jorgensen, Los Angeles, Calif., and Mrs. Jorgensen

Rep. Delbert L. Latta (R-Ohio)

Dr. Sherman E. Lee, director, The Cleveland Museum of Art, and Mrs. Lee

Louis LoMonaco and Shirley Verrett LoMonaco, opera singer, New York City

Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), and Mrs. Lugar

Mrs. Douglas MacArthur II, wife of former ambassador, Washington D.C.

Michael J. Mansfield, American ambassador to Japan, and Mrs. Mansfield

Sen. Spark M. Matsunaga (D-Hawaii), and Mrs. Matsunaga

Edwin Meese III, chief counsel to the president, and Mrs. Meese

Ken Mori and Hanae Mori, designer, New York City

Ray Pfautch, St. Louis, Mo.

Donnie Radcliffe, The Washington Post

Myer Rashish, under secretary of state for economic affairs, and Mrs. Rashish

Donald Regan, secretary of the treasury, and Mrs. Regan

S. dillion Ripley, secretary, Smithsonian Institution, and Mrs. Ripley

Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, III, member, The Asia Society, New York City

Issac Shapiro, New York City, and Mrs. Shapiro

Robert F. Six, chairman, Continental Airlines Inc., Los Angeles, and Mrs. Six

Walter J. Stoessel Jr., under secretary for political affairs, and Mrs. Stoessel

Geraldine Stuz, president, Henri Bendel Inc., New York City

Dr. Jokichi Takamine, West Los Angeles, Calif.

Dr. Robert Ward, chairman, Japan-United States Friendship Commission, Stanford, Calif., and Mrs. Ward

Caspar Weinberger, secretary of defense, and Mrs. Weinberger

Cornelius Vanderbuilt Whitney, president, Whitney Industries Inc., New York City, and Mrs. Whitney

Rep. Jamie L. Whitten (D-Miss.), and Mrs. Whitten

Warren George Wilson, accompanist for Shirley Verrett

Donald M. Kendall, chairman, Pepsico, Inc., Purchase, N.Y., and Mrs. Kendall CAPTION:

The Reagans with Prime Minister and Mrs. Zenko Suzuki; by John McDonnell -- The Washington Post