Trump arrives in Japan eager for flattery and pomp

Posted Saturday, 25 May 2019 ‐ CNN

Tokyo (CNN)President Donald Trump arrived in Japan on Saturday eager for a visit salted with flattery and pomp — particularly as he escapes a hostile political environment back home. The President and first lady Melania Trump landed in Tokyo ahead of a largely ceremonial visit to recognize the country's new emperor. Air Force One touched down at Haneda International Airport just before 4 a.m. ET (5 p.m. local) after a roughly 14 hour journey from Washington.His series of engagements with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Emperor Naruhito begin Sunday.The state visit will provide an altogether more pleasant vibe than in Washington, where talk of impeachment is now rampant and Trump is seething at Democrats' investigations into his administration.And though Japanese officials and analysts said the honor of an inaugural state visit would have been afforded any US leader, it still reflects a bid to charm a flattery-prone President who still finds himself besieged by investigations back home. The trip kicks off an intensive schedule of foreign travel that will take Trump to Europe and then back to Asia over the next month.In the Japanese capital, ringside seats at a sumo wrestling tournament, an imperial dinner banquet and a visit to a naval base are being arranged by Abe, who has spent more than two years making a crack at becoming Trump's best global friend.On that front, he's largely succeeded. As other traditional allies in Europe and Canada find themselves politically weakened and successively insulted by Trump, Abe has met and spoken by phone with the President more than 40 times and has been twice invited to the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. Trade and North Korea on the agendaThe payoff for Abe's courtship is less clear. Trump, whose views of Japan as an economic rival date to the 1980s, has slapped metal tariffs on the country's exports and threatened duties on its autos. And his diplomatic effort with North Korea has at moments caused deep concern among Japanese officials.Both those topics will be featured in Trump's talks with Abe this weekend. But US officials said substance would take a back seat to the lashings of ceremonial Japanese culture meant to impress and flatter the US leader. Trump is the first state visitor since new Japanese Emperor Naruhito ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne this month following his elderly father's abdication.The Emperor and his Harvard-educated wife, Empress Masako, will host Trump for an imperial banquet designed to illustrate strong US-Japan ties, which are critical in a country dependent on Washington for military protection. Trump will also present the winner of Tokyo's spring sumo wrestling tournament a trophy after taking in a few rounds from ringside seats, an engagement that White House officials say he's been anticipating eagerly.And while the effect will be one of royal feting of a leader who loves that sort of spectacle, it was never a question whether a US leader would be invited for the first official state visit of the Reiwa era, as Emperor Naruhito's reign is known. "It had to be the American president first," said Michael Green, senior vice president and Japan chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "It's more about that than showing Donald Trump a lot of pomp and circumstance. The Japanese diplomatic agenda meant that whoever was president, they had to have the American president first."In extensive face time with Trump -- including a bilateral meeting and likely a round of golf -- Abe hopes to stave off further trade tensions and gain assurances that the US will remain tough on North Korea.Japanese officials were alarmed earlier this month when North Korea resumed test-firing short-range missiles after a long period of relative silence. While Trump and other US officials took a middle-of-the-road approach to the tests, saying the diplomatic relationship with leader Kim Jong Un would continue, Japan took a harder stance, saying the move violated UN resolutions.Abe has regularly pressed Trump to maintain pressure on Pyongyang, particularly on the matter of Japanese citizens who were abducted by the regime decades ago. And while Tokyo does not oppose the President's diplomatic efforts, there are lingering concerns that the pursuit of a nuclear agreement could lead to a withdrawal of US troops from the region.'A celebration of their new roles' Trade, too, has provided heartburn for Abe in his dealings with Trump. The US withdrew from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership early in Trump's tenure, which Japan had advocated for as a trade bloc that could provide a counterweight to China. Instead, Trump stated a preference to negotiating one-on-one trade agreements, including with Japan.Last week, Trump decided to delay new auto tariffs as his administration negotiates bilateral trade agreements with Japan and Europe -- but only for six months, a tight deadline for the two sides to reach an agreement that suits him. Even as he lifted tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico last week, Trump has maintained those tariffs on Japanese metals. Trump has insisted the $68 billion trade deficit with Japan be lowered, and he carries a long-held view of the country as a fierce economic rival (he took out a full-page newspaper ad in 1987 declaring "Japan and other nations have been taking advantage of the United States").Those disputes aren't likely to be entirely resolved this week, officials said in previewing the trip."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," a senior administration official 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."

Other articles published by CNN

Posted Sunday, 25 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)The 2020 Democratic candidates for president are everywhere. We know their policies. We know their playlists. But do we know their dogs? Donald Trump eschewed tradition when he entered the White House pet-less. The last pups to live in the Oval...

Posted Sunday, 25 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Some might say Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry has already "made it." Now he's using his success to help future generations of African-Americans do the same.The three-time NBA champion has announced he will fund the first six years of a new...

Posted Sunday, 25 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Thirty years ago, NASA's Voyager 2 mission flew by Neptune, capturing the first close-up images of the blue gas giant. Before this, the eighth planet in our solar system was only known as a fuzzy dot in the distance. And the end of Voyager 2's...

Posted Sunday, 25 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)The US is warning Iran it's taking Tehran's threats seriously and will hold it accountable if it compromises the safety of any American.The comments came in a tweet from US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus on Saturday, after Iran...

Posted Sunday, 25 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)The Cherokee Nation announced Thursday that it intends to appoint a delegate to the US House of Representatives, asserting for the first time a right promised to the tribe in a nearly 200-year-old treaty with the federal government.It was a historic ...

Posted Sunday, 25 August 2019 ‐ CNN

Houston, Texas (CNN)Two days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas in August 2017, as historic rainfall submerged parts of Houston, the Army Corps of Engineers released water from two reservoirs into a river running through one of the country's...

Posted Sunday, 25 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)United Airlines is suspending daily service from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to Hong Kong starting next month, the company confirmed to CNN Saturday. "While our service between the United States and HKG (Hong Kong) remains a vital part of ...

Posted Sunday, 25 August 2019 ‐ CNN

Moscow (CNN)It's been a heady summer for Russia's embattled political opposition. On August 10, as many as 50,000 people rallied in Moscow calling for fair local elections, the biggest protests seen in the capital since early 2012. Now opposition leaders ...

Posted Sunday, 25 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters Saturday that he will ask US President Donald Trump not to escalate the trade war with China. Johnson made the statements after arriving for the G7 summit in the southwestern French city of...

Posted Sunday, 25 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Quarterback Andrew Luck, the first pick in the 2012 NFL draft and a four-time Pro Bowl selection, is retiring, the Indianapolis Colts player said Saturday night."This is not an easy decision," he told reporters.Injuries have kept Luck, 29, from...

Posted Sunday, 25 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Russia launched two ballistic missiles from nuclear-powered submarines in the Arctic Ocean and the Barents Sea on Saturday, according to a tweet from the Russian Ministry of Defense. Described as a successful test launch, the missiles were part of...

Posted Sunday, 25 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)On Friday, most of the service members of the Air Force's 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force base in South Carolina will get a needed extra day off. The day off comes after three airmen have died by suicide since May, according to media reports....

Posted Sunday, 25 August 2019 ‐ CNN

Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, and author, with Kevin Kruse, of the new book "Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974." Follow him on Twitter at @julianzelizer. The opinions expressed...

Posted Sunday, 25 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Disney teased fans on Saturday with a sneak peek at Cruella de Vil's new punk rock look -- which left fans a little confused.Emma Stone plays the evil dog-napper in the upcoming movie "Cruella," an origin story of the classic "101 Dalmatians."In the ...

Posted Saturday, 24 August 2019 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Windmills and solar panels may soon be keeping the lights on in the reptile house, and throughout the Detroit Zoo.The zoo, located in Detroit's suburb of Royal Oak, says it's shifting to being powered entirely by renewable energy."We are announcing...