Arrangements have been made for U.S. President Donald Trump to play golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when he visits Japan in early November. Japanese professional golfer Hideki Matsuyama, 25, is reportedly invited to join the golf diplomacy between Abe and Trump and play a round with them.
One correspondent assigned to the Prime Minister’s Office says, “When Prime Minister Abe visited the U.S. in February this year, he played a total of 27 holes [with President Trump] in Florida. That gave me the impression that they could have a frank dialogue. Their future summit meetings will focus not only on North Korea but also on the elimination of the trade deficit, on which Trump places emphasis. Golf is perfect for people to open up to each other when they have a difficult issue to solve. In fact, [Abe and Trump] said many times, “Let’s play golf together” during telephone conferences.”
As a matter of fact, it was Trump who ask the world-famous Matsuyama to play golf with him.
The correspondent says, “When the two leaders played golf in Florida, Trump told Abe about Matsuyama, “He is a good player. I’d love to play with him if I get a chance.” This time, the Japanese government received a request from the U.S. side to make arrangements [for Trump to play with Matsuyama.]”
Though the plan may be canceled if the situation in North Korea deteriorates, the Japanese government is steadily preparing for the event.
The correspondent also says, “The two leaders will play in either Fujizakura Country Club in Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture, where Abe frequently visits, or Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama Prefecture, which will be the venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics golf tournament, due to security reasons. The Japanese government invited Matsuyama through the Japan Golf Tour Organization confident he would accept.”
But Matsuyama is reportedly reluctant. A friend of his says, “He is quiet and shy. Furthermore, he is not good at English, so he always gives a post-match interview in Japanese. He is not interested in politics at all, so he said he wants to decline the offer. But he doesn’t have any plans during the time when the U.S. President visits Japan. So he is worried that he can’t refuse the request because it came from the government.” (Abridged)