Announcements coming from the Japanese Government have indicated that the first foreign leader to be hosted by Crown Prince Naruhito on a State Visit following his accession to the Chrysanthemum Throne will be US President, Donald Trump. This will not be the first visit of Mr Trump during his presidency. He also came to Japan in November 2017. However, on this occasion he would be given the highest honour of being treated as a State Guest. The three day visit, reportedly set for around the end of May, will come only a month before he is due back in Japan for the G20 summit in Osaka at the end of June.
The Japanese Government are keen to bolster US/Japan relations and a source indicated they thought President Trump would be the most suitable first foreign guest of the new reign. Crown Prince Naruhito will become Emperor of Japan on April 30th 2019 when his father, Emperor Akihito, abdicates.
It is thought that the visit could also shine a spotlight on foreign policy as it would come after the planned summit between the US and North Korea, scheduled for the end of this month in Vietnam. A State Visit at the end of May would provide an opportunity for President Trump to brief Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, on the outcomes of that meeting.
With regards to trade, there are clearly countries which President Trump is keen to do business with – among them Japan. There are also hopes that, as part of this potential State Visit, further progress will be made on the bi-lateral pact the two leaders launched last September.
It is also highly possible that not all the conversations will be held in high-level meetings indoors. Both President Trump and Prime Minister Abe are keen golfers and have found time for games at previous meetings both in the US and Japan.