Nikkei published a prominent inside-page story on President Trump’s trip to Japan starting on Saturday, saying that the GOJ has been making unprecedented preparations for hosting the first state guest in the Reiwa Era since Prime Minister Abe views the U.S. leader’s visit as a golden opportunity to call global attention to the ironclad bilateral alliance. Pointing out that the President is expected to visit a sumo stadium, golf course, and MSDF base in addition to holding a bilateral summit and having an audience with the Emperor and Empress, the daily wrote that the Abe administration is set to accord the highest degree of hospitality to President Trump in the belief that Japan’s diplomatic presence has risen in the international community due to the strong bonds between the two officials. Pointing out that the Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif hastily came to Tokyo last week for talks with PM Abe and Foreign Minister Kono probably in the hope that the GOJ will be able to mediate between Tehran and Washington, the article speculated that the top Iranian diplomat, who was on an Asian trip, chose to visit Japan ahead of China perhaps with the upcoming Trump-Abe summit in mind.
In a related development, NHK reported online today that Foreign Minister Kono and Secretary of State Pompeo held a 20-minute teleconference on Monday evening in which they confirmed that the two sides will continue to coordinate on various policies in order to make President Trump’s visit to Japan a success.
Meanwhile, Sankei and Mainichi took up remarks made to senior LDP officials on Monday by PM Abe, who said when he and President Trump visit Ryogoku Kokugikan together to watch sumo on May 26, the U.S. leader plans to present a “U.S. presidential cup” to the winner of the tournament. Speaking on the bilateral summit to be held on the next day, Abe said: “I would like to confirm and highlight the unity of the bilateral alliance.”