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International relations

Trump to visit Japan as state guest on May 25-28

US president to be first international dignitary to meet new emperor

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump are expected to reaffirm cooperation on North Korean denuclearization.   © Reuters

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- U.S. President Donald Trump will visit Japan as a state guest from May 25 to 28, Japan's top government spokesman said Friday.

Trump will become the first state guest to meet with Crown Prince Naruhito after he accedes to the throne on May 1 following the abdication of his father Emperor Akihito the previous day.

"The fact that Japan will host Mr. Trump and his wife as the first state guests under the new imperial era of Reiwa symbolizes the bond of the unwavering Japan-U.S. alliance," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference.

Japan's imperial era name will change to Reiwa from Heisei when Crown Prince Naruhito succeeds his father.

The White House said the state visit by Trump and first lady Melania "will deepen the close bonds between the American and Japanese people and will highlight the continued importance of our alliance and partnership."

Abe is expected to hold summit talks with Trump to reaffirm cooperation in urging North Korea to deliver on its promise to denuclearize, and resolve Pyongyang's abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.

The two leaders, who are expected to meet every month between April and June, may also discuss trade. With Trump having taken issue with his country's hefty deficit with Japan, Tokyo and Washington launched earlier this week negotiations for a bilateral trade deal.

Besides the summit, Trump may also watch a live sumo bout at an upcoming tournament and inspect Izumo-class destroyers that Japan has decided to effectively remodel into aircraft carriers.

Abe has built close personal ties with Trump, putting priority on strengthening the long-standing bilateral security alliance.

The Japanese prime minister plans to visit Washington on April 26 and 27 to meet with Trump, and the U.S. president will likely travel to Japan again for a Group of 20 summit in Osaka in June.

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