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President Trump reportedly to visit Japan next May

Fuji TV aired this morning an exclusive report citing Japanese and U.S. diplomatic sources saying that the two governments are making arrangement for President Trump to visit Japan as a state guest from May 26, 2019. He will stay in Japan for three days and two nights, according to the report.


All Wednesday morning national dailies took up a disclosure by an unnamed senior Abe administration official regarding the arrangements allegedly being made between the USG and the GOJ for President Trump to visit Japan next May or June as a state guest. The dailies speculated that since the President is also expected to visit Osaka in late June to attend the G20 summit, he might end up visiting Japan twice in just two months, which the articles stressed would be extremely unusual. The Abe administration is reportedly making arrangements for President Trump to be the first foreign dignitary to meet with the new emperor, who will ascend the throne on May 1.


While claiming that Prime Minister Abe has several times sounded out the President about visiting Japan in May, Nikkei explained that the premier is keen to invite the U.S. leader as his close bonds with him have solidified his political footing at home. The paper also conjectured that the invitation was probably intended to ease U.S. pressure ahead of the start of new bilateral trade talks early next year.


According to the papers, it is the custom to invite only a small number of foreign leaders as state guests each year, and the honor might be extended to President Xi of China next year. Some GOJ officials are reportedly concerned about giving the impression that President Trump and President Xi are competing over who gets to meet with the new emperor first. According to a GOJ source cited by Asahi, “President Xi would not object if President Trump were the first” foreign leader to meet with the new emperor. While noting that it is well known that Abe attaches foremost importance to his ties with the U.S. leader, Nikkei said the premier should not use the emperor to advance his political agenda. Mainichi quoted an unnamed senior Kantei official as saying: “We will not use the emperor for political purposes, but we will be able to signify that the United States is important to us.”

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