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Media: Trump may visit Japan twice in 2019

By WANG XU | China Daily | Updated: 2018-12-06 09:46
US President Donald Trump shows a letter he received from DPRK leader Kim Jong-un during a bilateral meeting with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, US, Sept 26, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

Tokyo hopes to welcome US President Donald Trump twice in just two months next year, as a way to create a friendly atmosphere ahead of "tough, going-concrete" bilateral trade talks, analysts say.

The Japanese government is eyeing a Trump visit as a state guest after Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito's planned accession on May 1, Kyodo News said, and before attending June's G20 meetings in Osaka.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government is seeking a meeting between the new emperor and Trump, in a move that could make the US president the first foreign leader to meet with him, Kyodo cited sources as saying.

Yu Qiang, a Japan studies researcher at the University of International Relations in Beijing, said by doing so, Tokyo aims to demonstrate its strong alliance with the United States on one hand, and create an amicable atmosphere for demanding bilateral trade talks on another.

"The United States and Japan are scheduled to enter concrete negotiations over bilateral trade in January," Yu said, "and in order to cut the trade deficit with Tokyo, Trump had threatened hefty automobile tariffs on Japan if the talks fail".

"So making an unusual rapid return for a US president in just two months is a smart move, which ensures Tokyo and Washington both look good," Yu added.

On Friday, before meeting with Abe at the G20 meetings in Argentina, regarding the Japanese emperor, Trump said: "I will be going to a tremendous event in Japan" and "I was very honored to be invited".

Japan usually accepts two to three state guests very year. In November, Trump paid a visit to Japan as an official guest, rather than a state guest. His predecessor, Barack Obama, however, was received as a state guest in April 2014.

Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend the throne a day after his father, Akihito, steps down as emperor on April 30, and a formal enthronement ceremony was expected to be held on Oct 22.

Akihito, 84, who took the throne in 1989 after the death of emperor Hirohito, will be the first Japanese monarch to abdicate in about two centuries.

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