Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo met with White House National Security Adviser John Bolton on Friday ahead of President Donald Trump’s four-day visit to the region.
During the meeting at the premier’s office in Tokyo, Abe told Bolton that he is looking forward Trump’s “historic” state visit on Saturday, which he hopes will serve as an opportunity to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.
Arriving in Japan on Saturday, Trump will first meet with the recently crowned Emperor Naruhito before holding formal talks with Abe on Monday.
After meetings with Abe and Japan’s National Security Advisor Shotaro Yachi, Bolton told reporters that Trump expects to have “productive” discussions on a range of “very important issues” during the meeting.
“President Trump is deeply honored to be the first visitor of state to meet the new emperor, very much looking forward to it,” he said.
Issues on the agenda are likely to include trade as well as ongoing attempts by the U.S. to negotiate a comprehensive peace agreement with North Korea. Abe recently expressed a willingness to meet communist dictator Kim Jong-un “without preconditions.”
The question of whether Abe would meet with Kim remains sensitive as Japan is still seeking the return of abducted Japanese nationals by the North Korean regime between 1977 and 1983.
To commemorate Memorial Day, Trump will tour a Japanese destroyer that its navy intends to convert into the country’s first aircraft carrier since the Second World War. The tour is reportedly planned to show Japan’s commitment to military spending, something that Trump has repeatedly complained about.
Trump will also be treated to a “sumo showdown” at Japan’s famous Ryogoku Kokugikan venue, considered the home of the Japanese sport of sumo wrestling.
“A huge pro-wrestling fan, Trump once body-slammed and shaved the head of an American wrestling bigwig during a televised event,” notes Japan Today. “[Yet] opinion in Japan is split over the decision to invite the outspoken president to present a custom-made ‘Trump Cup’ to the winning wrestler in Tokyo this weekend — an unorthodox turn in a sport steeped in history and solemn ceremony.”