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Trump plays golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Donald Trump is on a golf outing with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo.

The president arrived by helicopter at the Mobara Country Club Landing Zone in Chiba on Sunday morning. 

He shared a quick handshake with his counterpart, who he was seeing for the first time since he arrived the evening before.

He said in a tweet, ‘Going to play golf right now with @AbeShinzo. Japan loves the game. Tremendous fans of @JackNicklaus, @TigerWoods, and @PhilMickelson — I said what about @GaryPlayer, they said we love Gary too!’

During their game, Abe tweeted a selfie showing him and the president smiling during their game. 

Abe was seen driving the golf cart with Trump in the front seat next to him as they made their way along the course. 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) tweeted a selfie showing him and President Trump during their golf game in Chiba, Japan on Saturday

Trump is on a golf outing with Abe just hours after he and First Lady Melania Trump landed in Japan

Trump is on a golf outing with Abe just hours after he and First Lady Melania Trump landed in Japan

The president's helicopter, Marine One, landed on the course at Mobara Country Club in Chiba on Saturday

The president’s helicopter, Marine One, landed on the course at Mobara Country Club in Chiba on Saturday

The president and the Japanese premier warmly greeted each other before playing a round of golf on Saturday

The president and the Japanese premier warmly greeted each other before playing a round of golf on Saturday

In true Trumpian style, Abe welcomed the first couple with a tweet and a photo of the Tokyo Skytree, which the government lit up in the colors of the American flag. 'Reiwa' is the Japanese name for the new imperial era, which began on May 1 - the day on which Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne. Japan says that 'reiwa' is loosely translated as 'beautiful harmony'

In true Trumpian style, Abe welcomed the first couple with a tweet and a photo of the Tokyo Skytree, which the government lit up in the colors of the American flag. ‘Reiwa’ is the Japanese name for the new imperial era, which began on May 1 – the day on which Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne. Japan says that ‘reiwa’ is loosely translated as ‘beautiful harmony’

Trump spent the morning tweeting about North Korea, Jussie Smollett and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. 

He was not in the mood to talk when he saw reporters, however, declining to respond to shouted questions.

Abe and Trump play golf almost every time they meet, most recently in April outside of Washington. He gave Trump a gold golf driver after the political novice won the 2016 presidential election in America. 

The Japanese prime minister was not at the airport when the president and first lady arrived on Saturday evening local time. He sent his foreign minister to greet them.

They have a long day of events that begin with golf and end with a dinner with their respective spouses. In between, they’ll attend the final round of a sumo tournament, where Trump will present a 60-pound cup to the victor.

In true Trumpian style, Abe welcomed the first couple with a tweet and a photo of the Tokyo Skytree, which the government lit up in the colors of the American flag.

‘President Trump and the First Lady are staying in Japan as the first State Guests of the new era “Reiwa”! TOKYO SKYTREE welcomes their historic visit with a special lighting inspired by the Stars and Stripes. Akie and I are looking forward to seeing them tomorrow!’ he said.

Abe takes the wheel of the golf cart with the president sitting beside him on Saturday

Abe takes the wheel of the golf cart with the president sitting beside him on Saturday

Reporters and photographers take pictures and shout questions at the two leaders during their photo-op handshake on the golf course

Reporters and photographers take pictures and shout questions at the two leaders during their photo-op handshake on the golf course

Secret Service agents are ready on the green ahead of the president's golf game with Abe on Saturday

Secret Service agents are ready on the green ahead of the president’s golf game with Abe on Saturday

The first couple landed just after 5 pm local time and were greeted on the tarmac by Japan’s foreign minister, Taro Kono, after 16 hours of flights from Washington.

A senior White House official told press before Trump left that trade negotiations were not the focus of the trip and were unlikely to come up. 

But Trump signaled with his tweet that he plans to will the conversation in that direction. 

He told business leaders in Tokyo minutes after he landed that he wants Japan to remove barriers inhibiting the sale of American exports and purchase more of the United States’ defense products.

In off-the-cuff remarks at a dinner attended by executives of prominent Japanese brands like Toyota and Softbank, he said, ‘Japan has had a substantial edge for many many years.

‘That’s OK. Maybe that’s why you like us so much. But we’ll get it a little bit more fair, I think. I think we’ll do that,’ he stated.

He said Japan can reduce the imbalance by purchasing additional jets, missiles and rockets from the United States – and suggested the military equipment could come in handy soon.

‘We also have a tremendous relationship on the military, and Japan is ordering a great deal of military equipment. We make the best equipment in the world,’ he claimed. ‘And so, Japan is doing very large orders, and we appreciate that, and we think it’s probably appropriate right now with everything that’s going on. The world is changing.’ 

‘We just spent many, many hours on the plane,’ President Trump said at the Saturday evening dinner. ‘Here we are. We just walked off the plane, and here we are.’ 

Trump said the countries are ‘getting closer’ to a bilateral agreement. ‘We hope to have several further announcement soon, and some very big ones over the next few months,’ he said. 

‘And we’re also here, as you know, for a very special occasion, not having to do with trade, we all know about that,’ he said of the face time he’ll have with the emperor on Monday.

This is the Trumps’ second state visit to Japan. The first lady joined him on a previous journey to the country in 2017.

They missed an earthquake that shook the city of Tokyo by two hours. 

The quake was on the low end of the intensity scale, coming in at a magnitude of 4.6, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, but it rumbled buildings enough to be noticeable.

The earthquake originated in Chiba, where Trump and Abe played their round of golf.  

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have arrived in Tokyo, Japan on Saturday evening for a five-day visit

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have arrived in Tokyo, Japan on Saturday evening for a five-day visit

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe sent his foreign affairs minister to welcome the president and first lady on Saturday

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe sent his foreign affairs minister to welcome the president and first lady on Saturday

They spent 16 hours on flights, yet the first lady, who often changes in the air, was wearing the same dress as when she left

They spent 16 hours on flights, yet the first lady, who often changes in the air, was wearing the same dress as when she left

After they arrived in Tokyo, the Trumps jumped in the president's limo, which flies with him everywhere, and went to dinner

After they arrived in Tokyo, the Trumps jumped in the president’s limo, which flies with him everywhere, and went to dinner

Melania wore a white, Calvin Klein shirt dress covered with postcards depicting the West for the journey. The dress initially sold for $3,900 but is currently 50 percent off

Melania wore a white, Calvin Klein shirt dress covered with postcards depicting the West for the journey. The dress initially sold for $3,900 but is currently 50 percent off

The president left the White House on Friday and stopped at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, early Saturday morning to refuel Air Force One on his way to Japan.

He spent time with troops stationed at the base and shot a video with them that he posted to his Twitter account.

Trump said in the 30-second montage of the stopover: ‘We’re here with our great military, these are great, great future leaders. And they can all be famous after this.’

The president and first lady are staying at the Palace Hotel in Tokyo, where there was a heavy police presence in advance of their visit. 

Japanese protesters also lined the streets in opposition to the relocation of a U.S. military installation to the island of Okinawa.

Emergency action Trump took on Friday morning to expedite an arms sale to Saudi Arabia also drew scorn for protesters carrying signs with messages like, ‘Arms are for hugging. Stop arms sales.’ 

U.S. President Donald Trump waves from the Beast after arriving in Tokyo's Haneda Airport outside the large city

U.S. President Donald Trump waves from the Beast after arriving in Tokyo’s Haneda Airport outside the large city

Workers adjust a red carpet for the arrival the arrival of Air Force One on Saturday evening at Haneda airport in Tokyo

Workers adjust a red carpet for the arrival the arrival of Air Force One on Saturday evening at Haneda airport in Tokyo

Trump’s administration said the arms sale was necessary to keep Iran in check in the region. It has warned of a heightened threat from the nation.

The documents were not released until Trump was half-way around the world, although the action had been rumored for days. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent a notification to Congress on Friday after most legislators had left Washington. 

The first lady (left) and Abe's wife, Akie Abe, visit the Mori Building Digital Art Museum in Tokyo on Saturday

The first lady (left) and Abe’s wife, Akie Abe, visit the Mori Building Digital Art Museum in Tokyo on Saturday

This is the second time since her husband became president that First Lady Melania Trump has visited Japan

This is the second time since her husband became president that First Lady Melania Trump has visited Japan

Mori Building Digital Art Museum has been billed as the world's first digital art museum. The museum, a 107,000 square foot venue, opened last year

Mori Building Digital Art Museum has been billed as the world’s first digital art museum. The museum, a 107,000 square foot venue, opened last year

Before he departed, the president fielded 14 minutes of questions from reporters. He ignored inquiries about his visit to Japan, suggesting his mind was elsewhere, however.

He proceeded to rage about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report from aboard Air Force One.  

In one tweet several hours into the long-haul flight, he said. ‘The Dems want a second shot at Bob Mueller, are very unhappy with the No Collusion Report. They should not be allowed to play this game any longer – no second chances – must get back to work. So bad for our Country!’  

A police officer stands guard in front of the Palace Hotel Tokyo, where the Trumps are staying during their four-day state visit

A police officer stands guard in front of the Palace Hotel Tokyo, where the Trumps are staying during their four-day state visit

U.S. and Japanese national flags are displayed on a street on May 25, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan, ahead of Donald Trump's arrival

U.S. and Japanese national flags are displayed on a street on May 25, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan, ahead of Donald Trump’s arrival

Demonstrators came out against Trump on Saturday,  rejecting the relocation of a U.S. base in Japan to Okinawa

Most of the United States' military facilities in Japan are on Okinawa Island

Demonstrators came out against Trump on Saturday, rejecting the relocation of a U.S. base in Japan to Okinawa Island

Protesters hold a banner protesting against the U.S-developed Aegis Ashore missile interceptor systems that will be based in Japan during a demonstration against the state visit by Trump to Tokyo

Protesters hold a banner protesting against the U.S-developed Aegis Ashore missile interceptor systems that will be based in Japan during a demonstration against the state visit by Trump to Tokyo

Trump dinned on Sunday night with Satoshi Tsunakawa, President of Toyota, and other prominent Japanese business leaders

Trump dinned on Sunday night with Satoshi Tsunakawa, President of Toyota, and other prominent Japanese business leaders

Trump later turned to the topic of China and what he says is a ‘trade squabble’ with Beijing and not a trade war.

‘The real trade war began 30 years ago, and we lost. This is a bright new Age, the Age of Enlightenment. We don’t lose anymore!’ he shared.  

On the White House’s South Lawn, before he boarded Marine One to depart for the five-day trip, it was Democratic investigations into his administration that Trump wanted to talk about, choosing to respond to shouted questions on the subject.

‘I think William Barr is the most respected man – one of the most respected men, doing what he does – in our whole country,’ he said of his attorney general, whose under fire for refusing to testify in the House. ‘I just want him to be fair. I don’t want him to be for me or for anybody else. I just want him to be fair, and that’s what he is.’ 

He sent a single tweet acknowledging the visit. ‘Departed the @WhiteHouse and am now on Air Force One with the First Lady heading to Japan and looking forward to honoring, on behalf of the United States, His Majesty, the Emperor of Japan. I will also be discussing Trade and Military with my friend, Prime Minister @Shinzo Abe,’ he said. 

Trump stopped at an Alaskan air base on Saturday to refuel Air Force Once. He's seen posing for a selfie with a servicewoman

Trump stopped at an Alaskan air base on Saturday to refuel Air Force Once. He’s seen posing for a selfie with a servicewoman

Trump meets with troops at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska during a quick refueling stop en route to Tokyo

Trump meets with troops at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska during a quick refueling stop en route to Tokyo

Speaking of his meeting with the military, he said: 'These are great, great future leaders. And they can all be famous after this'

Speaking of his meeting with the military, he said: ‘These are great, great future leaders. And they can all be famous after this’

The president tweeted about meeting troops at the base

The president tweeted about meeting troops at the base

Air Force one had stopped to refuel at the air base in Alaska, giving Trump chance to shake hands with personnel

Air Force one had stopped to refuel at the air base in Alaska, giving Trump chance to shake hands with personnel

The president inspects a supporter's MAGA hat in Alaska

The president inspects a supporter’s MAGA hat in Alaska

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump departed for Tokyo, Japan on Friday

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump departed for Tokyo, Japan on Friday

Arm-in-arm: Melania and Donald Trump headed to Marine One to start the trip to Japan

Arm-in-arm: Melania and Donald Trump headed to Marine One to start the trip to Japan

Meeting: Melania Trump walked on to the South Lawn as her husband finished speaking to reporters

Meeting: Melania Trump walked on to the South Lawn as her husband finished speaking to reporters

Trump took several questions from reporters on the South Lawn before jetting off in Marine One, but didn't answer any related to the Japan trip

Trump took several questions from reporters on the South Lawn before jetting off in Marine One, but didn’t answer any related to the Japan trip

This is Trump's second official state visit to Japan since taking office

This is Trump’s second official state visit to Japan since taking office 

A portion of the five-day trip falls on Memorial Day Weekend, and this will be the first time Trump will not be in the U.S. for the holiday honoring fallen soldiers

A portion of the five-day trip falls on Memorial Day Weekend, and this will be the first time Trump will not be in the U.S. for the holiday honoring fallen soldiers

Waiting for departure: The scene at Joint Base Andrews as reporters, Secret Service and military personnel wait for Marine One's arrival

Waiting for departure: The scene at Joint Base Andrews as reporters, Secret Service and military personnel wait for Marine One’s arrival

This trip is centered around the enthronement of the new Japanese emperor and takes place over Memorial Day weekend. 

This will be the first time Trump has not been in the U.S. during the holiday that honors fallen soldiers. 

In 2017 and 2018, he delivered remarks at Arlington National Cemetery, where he also laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Trump stopped at the cemetery on Thursday to hold a moment of silence for soldiers perished while serving their country. 

He has previously come under scrutiny for skipping over Arlington on Veterans Day, when he was celebrating the end of WWI with other world leaders in France.

Greeting: Trump shakes hands with an Air Force colonel as he is welcomed to Air Force One

Greeting: Trump shakes hands with an Air Force colonel as he is welcomed to Air Force One

On our way: Donald and Melania Trump climb the staircase to board Air Force One

On our way: Donald and Melania Trump climb the staircase to board Air Force One

Final step: Trump steps on to Air Force One to start the two-part flight to Tokyo for his state visit to Japan

Final step: Trump steps on to Air Force One to start the two-part flight to Tokyo for his state visit to Japan

The president and first lady are the first state guests of Emperor Naruhito, who ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1, following his father’s early abdication.

The U.S. president will hold bilateral talks with Abe and give a Memorial Day speech to troops stationed at an American naval base in Yokosuka before he and Melania return to Washington. 

Over the long weekend, Trump will be the guest of honor at cultural events intended to flatter the visiting leader – including a sumo wrestling tournament where he’ll present the winner with a prize – and showcase the strength of the nations’ friendship.

At the naval base he is expected to inspect one of Japan’s largest warships, the JS Kaga, which will effectively be the country’s first aircraft carrier since 1945 when it is fully outfitted.

‘As Japan’s first state guests following the enthronement of His Majesty Emperor Naruhito on the first of May, this visit by the President comes really at a historic moment in Japan and it demonstrates that the alliance between the United States and Japan has never been stronger,’ a senior White House official told press in advance of the first couple’s visit.

President Donald Trump heads to Tokyo on Friday for the second time in his presidency on an official state visit that's tied to the enthronement of the new Japanese emperor

President Donald Trump heads to Tokyo on Friday for the second time in his presidency on an official state visit that’s tied to the enthronement of the new Japanese emperor

Mongolian Tamawashi (L) and ozeki Takayasu (R) compete on day seven of the Grand Sumo May Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan on May 17, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. Trump and Abe will attend the final day of the tournament this weekend

Mongolian Tamawashi (L) and ozeki Takayasu (R) compete on day seven of the Grand Sumo May Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan on May 17, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. Trump and Abe will attend the final day of the tournament this weekend

The U.S. president says he will give the winner of the tournament a prize, which is not being referred to informally in Japan as the Trump Cup

The U.S. president says he will give the winner of the tournament a prize, which is not being referred to informally in Japan as the Trump Cup

Japan's new Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako wave to well-wishers during their first appearance after ascension at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on May 4. They'll host Donald and Melania Trump as their first state guests next week

Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako wave to well-wishers during their first appearance after ascension at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on May 4. They’ll host Donald and Melania Trump as their first state guests next week

Firepower: Trump is expected to inspect the JS Kaga, a helicopter carrier which is to become the Japanese naval defense force's first full-scale aircraft carrier since World War II

Firepower: Trump is expected to inspect the JS Kaga, a helicopter carrier which is to become the Japanese naval defense force’s first full-scale aircraft carrier since World War II 

‘The alliance serves as the cornerstone of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region,’ the U.S. official added. ‘The United States’ and Japan’s shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific serves as the foundation for a global partnership that strengthens security, prosperity, and a rules-based order around the world.’

Touchy topics like regional security and trade were intentionally kept off the agenda. Little heavy lifting was anticipated on the visit that precedes the meatier gathering of leaders of the world’s largest economies next month.

‘I think that it’s going to be a very kind of cordial, though kind of staged moment,’ said Annika Culver, associate professor of East Asian history at Florida State University. 

TRUMP’S TOKYO TRIP 

  • Friday: Depart the White House for Japan.
  • Saturday: President and first lady arrive in Tokyo.
  • Sunday: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Trump participate in an informal activity, likely golf.
  • They attend the Spring Basho Sumo Tournament that’s being referred to as the ‘Trump Cup’ that evening with their wives.
  • Monday: President Trump and Mrs. Trump call on the emperor and empress in an official state visit.
  • The prime minister and president break off for talks, followed by a joint press conference.
  • They end the day with a black-tie banquet at the Imperial Palace.
  • Tuesday: The U.S president speaks to troops stationed at the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka. The prime minister has invited him to inspect the JS Kaga, a helicopter carrier which is being fitted to carry F-35 strike fighters, making it a full-scale aircraft carrier
  • The president and first lady return to Washington.

‘I doubt there’s going to be anything really kind of accomplished, but these kind of important continuance or feeling of positive relations.’ 

The American president’s trade war with China and his desire to enter into an economic agreement with Japan were expected to sit on the back burner.

‘I don’t think that the purpose of this trip is to focus on trade. It’s really to be state guests of Their Majesties. And that’s really the heart of the visit,’ the U.S. official who spoke to press said. ‘It’s a celebration of their new roles and this new era that’s been kicked off — the Reiwa era — and a chance to celebrate the alliance.’ 

Trump will return to Japan in June for the convening of Group of 20 leaders that’s taking place this year in Osaka.

He says he’ll have summits with China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the annual event and travel to South Korea while he’s in the region to meet with President Moon Jae-in.

Trump is set to acknowledge the strained relations with North Korea while he is in Japan in his Memorial Day address, the senior aide to the president indicated. 

The official said Trump would ‘talk about the importance of the alliance in deterring aggression in the region,’ in what appeared to be a reference to Pyongyang’s recent missile test. 

Abe has invited Trump to inspect the JS Kaga, the country’s second-largest warship. It is currently a helicopter carrier but it is to be equipped with F-35B strike fighters.

The Kaga’s namesake was sunk in the Battle of Midway in 1942. 

Japan is investing heavily in its self-defense forces over fears of Chinese and North Korean incursions.

The country’s constitution forbids it from re-militarizing but allows self-defense forces, and Abe’s administration has stepped up defense spending.

The symbolic nature of a fully-equipped aircraft carrier is seen as a powerful statement by the Japanese government. 

Yokosuka is currently home to the U.S. Navy’s Carrier Strike Group Five, whose flagship is the Nimitz-class nuclear-power aircraft carrier the USS Ronald Reagan.

Abe and Trump have only a small window set aside for business during Trump’s five-day trip to Japan. They’re likely to play golf on Sunday, the U.S. president’s first full day in Tokyo, and the next night Abe will host the president and first lady at a black-tie dinner.

Trump has held only one state visit in his presidency last April when he hosted French President Emmanuel Macron. 

He has cut back significantly on the extravagant events compared with his predecessors.

He’s offered other unique experience to world leaders he wants to impress. 

U.S. President Donald Trump (C, L) and first lady Melania Trump arrive at U.S. Yokota Air Base in the suburbs of Tokyo on Nov. 5, 2017 on their first visit to Japan

U.S. President Donald Trump (C, L) and first lady Melania Trump arrive at U.S. Yokota Air Base in the suburbs of Tokyo on Nov. 5, 2017 on their first visit to Japan

It was also a state visit. They are seen here with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko prior to their meeting at the Imperial Palace on November 6, 2017. Akhito has since abdicated

It was also a state visit. They are seen here with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko prior to their meeting at the Imperial Palace on November 6, 2017. Akhito has since abdicated

The Japanese prime minister had a hat made for Trump during the visit that plays on his campaign slogan

The Japanese prime minister had a hat made for Trump during the visit that plays on his campaign slogan

Abe allowed Trump to help him feed his fish before a joint news conference at Akaska Palace

Abe allowed Trump to help him feed his fish before a joint news conference at Akaska Palace

Policemen stand guard near the U.S. embassy ahead of the U.S. president's visit to Tokyo

Policemen stand guard near the U.S. embassy ahead of the U.S. president’s visit to Tokyo

Abe visited Trump in Washington less than a month ago to attend a birthday celebration for Melania Trump. He golfed with the U.S. president before he returned to Tokyo.

Trump hosted a U.S.-Japan summit for Abe last year at his Palm Beach resort. The leaders also golfed together then.

The senior official who briefed press on the Tokyo trip said the frequency of Trump’s contact with Abe ‘is really emblematic of just how close the relationship is’ between the two leaders.

‘That is absolutely unprecedented in terms of just of the frequency and substance of all of their interactions,’ the official stressed.

By the White House’s count, they have met or spoken more than 40 times since Trump’s election in November of 2016. 

Abe was the first world leader to meet with Trump after he won the contest, flying to New York to present him with a gold golf driver.

Abe’s grand gesture made an impression on Trump, who mentioned it during his state dinner toast during his last trip to Japan.

‘He actually brought me the most beautiful golf club I’ve ever seen. It was a driver that’s totally gold,’ he said. 

‘It is the most beautiful weapon I’ve ever seen.’

Washington College Professor and ‘Japan’s Security Renaissance’ author Andrew Oros credits the gift and the continent-crossing venture with Abe and Trump’s tight-knit relationship.

‘The early outreach from Prime Minster Abe was tremendously successful,’ he said.

Oros said a trade battle with Japan has mostly been ‘put off’ while Trump goes toe-to-toe with China on its practices, in spite of a $67.6 billion deficit.

‘It’s just sort of simmered along,’ Oros said of the imbalance Trump has complained about between Japan and the United States. 

Oros said that’s exactly the way the Japanese planned it. ‘Japan would be happy if these trade negotiations just disappeared,’ he told DailyMail.com.

He said of the possibility for trade talks in Tokyo: ‘No one thinks there’s going to be any serious discussions.’

Abe will fill Trump’s time instead with cultural activities such as the sumo tournament, where the leaders will be seated in chairs that are being brought into the Ryogoku Kokugikan just for Trump. 

Sumo watchers with floor-level seats near the dirt ring typically enjoy the martial art that only men can compete in on Japanese sitting mattresses. But Trump and Abe will sit in chairs at the event, News Post Seven reported.  

The accommodations are a testament to Abe’s commitment to staying in the good graces of the American president who can rally an army of social media users and move markets with his Twitter account in a moment’s notice. 

EMPEROR NARUHITO AND THE IMPERIAL FAMILY

Emperor Naruhito ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1, 2019 after his father, Akihito, abdicated and entered retirement.

Rulers traditionally hold on to the throne until their death, but Akihito stepped down to make way for the reign of his 59-year-old son.

Naruhito’s reign will be formally known as the ‘Reiwa’ era, and he will be renamed the Reiwa emperor when he passes.

He is Japan’s 126th monarch.

The Japanese emperor was once the head of government and of state affairs. Since the conclusion of World War II, the position is ceremonial. 

A prime minister, currently Shinzo Abe, runs the country’s affairs.

Naruhito studied at Oxford and speaks English. He plays both golf and tennis.

He is married to Empress Masako, who briefly lived in New York as a girl and went to high school in a suburb of Boston. 

She earned her degree in economics from Radcliffe College, which later merged with Harvard. She went on to study at Oxford, as well.

Naruhito and Masako have one child: Princess Aiko, who is not eligible under Japanese law to ascend the throne.

Another male in the blood line, Hisahito, is next in line to lead the monarchy. 

Abe lured Trump back to Japan with an invitation to meet Emperor Naruhito before any other world leader.   

‘And I said, “Gee, I don’t know if I can make it. Let me ask you a question: How big is that event compared to the Superbowl for the Japanese?”‘  Trump recalled during Abe’s most recent White House visit. 

‘And the Prime Minister said, “It’s about 100 times bigger.” I said, “I’ll be there. If that’s the case, I’ll be there”.’

Naruhito will not be formally enthroned until a ceremony in October, but the offer to meet him a month into his reign was enough to summon Trump. 

‘Isn’t it 130 some-odd years that it’s happened? It’s a very unusual — it’s a very unusual thing,’ Trump told Abe in April of Akihito’s abdication. ‘And you’re talking about reigning through blood for over 3,000 years — the longest in the world. So it’s a very, very big event.’

Abe told him it had actually been 200 years since a living Japanese emperor stepped down.  

‘Well, that’s really nice. And that’s an honor on behalf of our country, not just the First Lady and myself. So we really do look forward to that,’ Trump replied. ‘And I think, on a little bit lighter note, we will also be going, perhaps, to a sumo wrestling match. I’ve always found that fascinating.’

He said, So, in fact, we’re having a trophy made in this country. We’re going to give the trophy to the winner of the championship. So that should be good.’

Jim Schoff, a senior fellow at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, pointed to the comments and said the visit is a missed opportunity for the American president.

‘I don’t sense that Trump is going into this with a strategy of what he wants to get out of it, he’s kind of just going for the trip. There’s no real political benefit for him.’

Schoff said Abe is ‘desperate to avoid’ an in-depth conversation on trade, and Trump is playing right into it. ‘We could have a lot more substance here, and unfortunately, I don’t expect a lot to come out of it.’

On the call with press before the president’s visit, the U.S. official previewing the trip said characterizations of the trip as lacking in substance were wrong.

‘I don’t want to give the impression that it won’t be substantive. It’s going to cover quite a broad range of topics in the relationship. There will be some substantive things to announce. So there will be ceremony but there will also be substance in this visit,’ the official insisted.

Washington College’s Oros said Trump’s trip on its own provides valuable insight into his relationship with Abe and the closeness of the U.S. and Japan. 

‘If Japan were not as important to the U.S. as it is, he would just meet with Abe then,’ Oros told DailyMail.com. ‘In part, that’s because President Trump and his advisers really do understand that the alliance with Japan is a critical linchpin to relations with China.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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