Trump Travels to Japan as the First State Guest of Reiwa Era

By Kitty Wang

Trump became Japan’s first State guest since Reiwa’s reign began. The president and first lady set off for a four-day state-visit on May 24. They arrived in Tokyo on May 25.

Shihoko Goto, Deputy Director for Geoeconomics, Wilson Center said, “The fact that President Trump is making the effort to go to Japan, and just to go to Japan, speaks volumes.”

“We would try to embrace him fully. And I think that his visit would sort of symbolize that, that no matter who the President is, the US is a very important country for Japan,” said Toshihiro Nakayama, Japan Fellow of Asia Program, Wilson Center.

On Sunday 26th, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will invite President Trump to play golf and watch a Sumo wrestling competition together.

The presidential couple will also meet with Head of State Naruhito and his wife Masako, who ascended the throne at the start of the month. They will also attend a dinner at the Royal Palace.

Trump and Abe will have a joint summit and a press conference. The two sides are expected to discuss North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, China’s economic and military issues, and bilateral trade.

“Japan at the moment is very much supportive of America’s stance when it comes to dealing with the north Korean threats,” Goto said.

There are still many difficulties between the US and Japan on trade issues, especially on agricultural products and cars, but it’s not the focus of this trip.

“We do share a lots of concerns that the US has about China,” Nakayama said.

On Monday, Trump will go to the Yokosuka U.S. Naval Base where he will honor the troops for Memorial Day. Accompanied by Abe, he will also tour the JS Kaga, one of the two largest warships in Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force. The ship is planned to be converted into an aircraft carrier.

“It’s a symbolic message to the President that you know Japan is beefing up its military capability. And this new aircraft carrier would be loaded with the F-35Bs,” Nakayama said.

Experts believe that this tour will also send a signal to China about the U.S.-Japan military alliance and their determination to jointly address regional challenges.