TOKYO -- The governments of Japan and the United States have begun discussions for U.S. President Donald Trump to visit Japan for three days from May 26 and meet the new emperor, according to people familiar with the arrangement.
Trump is expected to become the first foreign state guest to see the new emperor after Crown Prince Naruhito inherits the throne on May 1. The U.S. president will also meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss North Korea's denuclearization and emphasize the close bilateral relationship, those people said.
The Japanese government has already extended an invitation to Trump to make an official visit to Japan, which will be his second trip to the country after a visit in November 2017. The American leader met with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko during the last visit, but his schedule did not include an official banquet at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo as he was an "official working visit guest." State guests are received with higher honors, and an individual close to the prime minister's office said Trump's stay "will likely include two nights or more considering events associated with the premier's office and the imperial dinner."
Trump is scheduled to attend the Group of 20 summit of leaders from major countries and regions to be held in Osaka in western Japan in June. It is rare for a U.S. president to visit Japan twice in a mere two months.
In the May meeting, Trump and Abe are expected to focus on North Korean issues, based on the results of the summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Feb. 27 and 28 in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. The two leaders will exchange opinions about the progress of Japan-U.S. trade talks to be initiated as early as this coming spring. The Japanese and U.S. governments are also considering the possibility of "golf diplomacy" in which Abe and Trump have previously engaged.
(Japanese original by Yoshitaka Koyama, Political News Department)