Trump to visit Japan in May, will meet new Emperor

Washington/ Tokyo: US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will visit Japan from May 25 to 28, making them the first state guests to meet the Asian country’s new Emperor, the two governments have confirmed.

The state visit, which follows the enthronement of Crown Prince Naruhito on May 1, is intended to showcase the closeness of the two countries’ ties, they said. Talks between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are also scheduled, reports Kyodo News Agency.

“The fact that Japan will host President Trump and his wife as the first state guests under the new era of Reiwa (to start under the new emperor) symbolizes the bond under the unwavering Japan-US alliance,” Japan’s top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference on Friday in Tokyo.

The White House said in a statement on Thursday night that the visit “will deepen the close bonds between the American and Japanese people and will highlight the continued importance of our alliance and partnership”.

During the trip, the Trumps are expected to meet the new emperor and attend a state banquet to be held at the Imperial Palace.

Abe and Trump, meanwhile, plan to hold talks to reaffirm cooperation in urging North Korea to deliver on its promise to denuclearise and resolve Pyongyang’s abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.

The two leaders, who are expected to meet every month between April and June, might also discuss trade. With Trump having taken issue with his country’s hefty deficit with Japan, Tokyo and Washington launched earlier this week negotiations for a bilateral trade deal.

Abe will visit Washington on April 26 and 27 to discuss a range of topics such as North Korea, while Trump is likely to travel to Japan again for a Group of 20 summits in Osaka in June.

Trump had visited Japan in 2017, but not as a state guest.