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Japan mulls inviting Trump after new emperor's accession in May

President Donald Trump speaks to media about the death of former President George H. W. Bush, during his meeting with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G20 summit, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Japanese government is considering inviting U.S. President Donald Trump as a state guest after Crown Prince Naruhito's planned accession on May 1, government sources said Tuesday.

The government is trying to arrange a meeting between the new emperor and Trump, in a move that could make the U.S. president the first foreign guest to meet with him, according to the sources.

Tokyo will arrange the detailed schedule of Trump's trip with Washington as he is also expected to visit Japan to attend the Group of 20 summit in Osaka on June 28 to 29 next year, the sources said.

Japan aims to demonstrate its strong alliance with the United States through Trump's visit as a state guest that typically involves a meeting with the emperor, in addition to talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

In a meeting on the sidelines of the two-day G-20 summit through Saturday in Argentina, Trump told Abe that he looks forward to visiting Japan next year.

"I'll be going to a tremendous event in Japan," he said, adding, "I was very honored to be invited. Your emperor."

The 58-year-old crown prince will succeed to the throne after Emperor Akihito, 84, abdicates on April 30 as the first living monarch to do so in about two centuries.

A senior Japanese government source said Trump's Japan visit will come after the new emperor's enthronement.

The U.S. leader paid a visit Japan in November last year as an official guest, rather than a state guest. His predecessor Barack Obama was invited to Japan as a state guest in April 2014.

Meanwhile, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said Tuesday former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will attend Wednesday's state funeral for former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, who died on Friday at age 94, as a special envoy of Abe.

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