Trump to enjoy golf, sumo spectacle and imperial family banquet in Japan


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks at President Donald Trump during a joint news conference at the White House on June 7, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks at President Donald Trump during a joint news conference at the White House on June 7, 2018 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images

By Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver

President Trump is poised to visit Japan twice in a month, once to be feted and the second time, he hopes, to be feared.

His four-day visit to Tokyo this weekend as the guest of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whom Trump has called “a great guy, fantastic man,” will include golf, attendance at a sumo wrestling match, a tour of an aircraft carrier, plus the history-making pomp of a state banquet hosted by the new Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako.

It’s a chance for Trump to leave behind his complaints about investigations into his administration and his finances, clashes with House Democrats and 2020 presidential challengers, and threats posed by Iran, North Korea, and Russia and a trade war with China.

The weekend of pageantry and friendship will pass quickly, and announcements about trade agreements between the United States and Japan are not expected. Trump will return to Japan in just a few weeks for the Group of 20 summit, where trade and other tensions reawaken among allies and partners. In between, the president in early June will make a state visit to the United Kingdom, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump and four of his children (The Telegraph).

Trump envisions going mano a mano with Chinese President Xi Jinping over trade during a bilateral meeting that Beijing suggested this week may not take place in Osaka after all. Trump simply says he’ll see Xi at the summit on June 28 and 29.

For U.S. farmers, manufacturers and investors, there is a lot riding on Trump’s rollercoaster approach to Beijing and his reliance on tariffs as leverage to try to force concessions from China on trade and intellectual property. The president has said Xi may decide he can wait to see who occupies the Oval Office in 2021.

Meantime, Xi is stoking China’s sense of nationalism against the United States and Trump is neck-deep into his tariffs strategy, arguing the United States can wait China out, too.

But there’s a domestic price: The president on Thursday approved another $16 billion in federal payouts to U.S. farmers and ranchers hurt by the tariffs war, on top of $12 billion in subsidies made available last year. And the administration this week eased back on Trump’s threats to escalate the tariffs on Chinese goods in order to study the impact on U.S. consumers.

“The farmers have been attacked by China,” Trump said on Thursday. “China has been unfair to this country for many, many years. Finally we have somebody that’s fighting back and, by the way, successfully fighting back. We’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars.”

The Hill: Trump says he’ll be Japan’s guest of honor at the biggest event they’ve had in 200 years.

TIME: During Trump’s visit, “The mood is the message.”

The Washington Post: From the Emperor to sumo wrestling, Abe harnesses Japan’s traditions to impress Trump.

Reuters: Japan tells Iran it would like to maintain and expand friendly relations with that country.

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