US president Donald Trump has met Emperor Naruhito on the Imperial Palace, turning into the primary world chief to have an viewers with the brand new Japanese monarch, who ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne in early Could.
Naruhito and Empress Masako greeted Mr Trump and his spouse Melania on the palace in central Tokyo on the third day of the American president’s four-day state go to to Japan. Mr Trump will return to the Imperial Palace on Monday night for a state banquet that may even be attended by Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister.
In assembly Naruhito, Mr Trump turned the one chief to have met the present and former emperor. Naruhito assumed the throne after his father Akihito turned the primary monarch to abdicate in 200 years. His ascension marked the beginning of the “Reiwa” period — translated as “stunning concord” — within the imperial calendar.
The transfer to award Mr Trump the primary state go to of the Reiwa period underscored the lengths Mr Abe has gone to make sure Japan maintains as sturdy a relationship as doable with the unstable US president. On Sunday, Mr Abe performed golf with Mr Trump earlier than accompanying him to observe a part of the ultimate day of a Sumo championship.
“Prime Minister Abe stated to me very particularly, you’re the visitor of honour,” Mr Trump stated earlier than he departed Washington for Tokyo. “There’s just one visitor of honour, you’re the visitor of honour.”
After their golf sport, Mr Trump and Mr Abe each tweeted selfies of the pair smiling on the course. Later the White Home posted a video on Twitter of Mr Trump attending the Sumo championship and presenting the winner with a trophy — named “The President’s Cup — that was made within the US. Mr Abe has informed aides that whereas Mr Trump may be unpredictable, he finds him simpler to cope with on a private degree than the extra aloof Barack Obama.
Whereas Washington and Tokyo get pleasure from a a lot better relationship than the US has with different allies, similar to Germany, the Japanese authorities stays involved that Mr Trump will take actions that can harm Japan. Mr Trump has on events referred to as for Japan to pay extra to host US troops primarily based within the nation. And he has talked about placing tariffs on automobile imports — a risk that he not too long ago postponed for 180 days however which stays reside.
Shortly after touchdown in Tokyo on Saturday, Mr Trump attended a reception with Japanese enterprise leaders throughout which he took a mild swipe at Japan over the commerce surplus the nation has long term with the US. “The USA and Japan are exhausting at work negotiating a bilateral commerce settlement, which is able to profit each of our international locations,” Mr Trump stated on the US ambassador’s residence. “Japan has had a considerable edge for a lot of, a few years, however that’s OK. Possibly that’s why you want us a lot. However we’ll get it a bit bit extra honest, I feel.”
After the 2 leaders performed golf on Sunday, Mr Trump tweeted that US and Japanese commerce negotiators have been making “nice progress”. However he confirmed that there was no probability of sealing a deal earlier than Japan held elections in July. The Monetary Instances reported in April that Mr Abe informed Mr Trump throughout a go to to Washington that Japan couldn’t make any concessions on agriculture — a key US demand — earlier than the higher home elections.
From Mr Abe’s viewpoint, the objective of the presidential go to is to safe his relationship with Mr Trump, and switch that to political benefit forward of higher home elections.
Whereas Mr Abe’s intense courtship of Mr Trump can appear obsequious, what the Japanese public are seeing on their TV screens is a US president paying unusually shut consideration to their nation: watching the nationwide sport of sumo; visiting the flagship of the self-defence forces; and assembly with the brand new emperor. There’s some proof that Mr Abe’s opinion ballot rankings rise when consideration turns to worldwide, not home affairs.
Officers distinction Mr Trump’s go to to 1 President Dwight D Eisenhower was purported to pay to Mr Abe’s grandfather, then prime minister Nobusuke Kishi, in 1960. That go to was cancelled amid huge demonstrations towards the US-Japan Safety Treaty. However the message to regional rivals, similar to China, with the Trump go to is: the US has no nearer good friend in Asia than Japan.
“I wish to make the US-Japan alliance unshakeable on this new Reiwa period,” Mr Abe stated earlier than setting off to play golf with Mr Trump.
However the query hanging over his relationship with Mr Trump is whether or not it can ever present Japan with concrete outcomes on points similar to commerce and North Korea. For Mr Abe, nevertheless, merely having a US president to parade on this manner is a profit in itself.