As President Trump says, the "very big event" in Japan is something he simply can not miss.
How big? "One hundred times bigger" than the Super Bowl, Trump bragged at an Oval Office meeting with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe last month.
"Something that has not happened for over 200 years," the President was amazed this week, preparing to leave Washington on Friday for Tokyo.
What's going on? Trump did not say it exactly. In a comment on Thursday, he noted that this had something to do with the Emperor, but he did not specify any details. "It's a very big deal," he assured reporters.
For Trump ̵
saw a preview of plans for a reworked Independence Day fireworks display that would be "one of the largest gatherings in the history of Washington, DC," and called on reporters in the White House meeting room in March 2018 to drive to the driveway of the West Wing a "big statement" on the "big topic" – his decision to meet with Kim Jong Un from North Korea.
However, Trump was particularly vague about Japan. "It's a very unusual thing," he said during his meeting with Abe.
This "thing" is the coronation of Emperor Naruhito, who ascended this month after his father abdicated Akihito the throne – the first emperor to do so since 1817. 85-year-old Akihito ruled for 30 years, but retired from age and health reasons back.
As he prided himself on the significance of the event, Trump did not mention Naruhito or Akihito by name, nor the new "Reiwa era" in Japan, which marked Naruhito's rise. The royal succession is indeed a big thing in Japan, and the national celebration will last through a solemn ceremony for Naruhito in October.
For Abe, the historic moment provided the opportunity to advance his tireless publicity for Trump and invited him once again to be the first foreign leader to meet Naruhito. Abe will accompany Trump and First Lady Melania Trump to the final of the Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday, where they will be given special chairs near the Dohyo or Sumoring. Trump plans to give the winner a tailor-made trophy nicknamed the "Trump Cup".
Convincing Trump to make the trip was a bit tricky for Abe, who also managed to convince Trump to return to the group of 20 economic summits in Osaka next month. Trump told reporters during the meeting with Abe last month that he only agrees after Abe assured him that the event was much bigger than the Super Bowl.
"I said," I'll be there. If that's the case, I'm here, "Trump said, adding," Is not it 130 years ago that it happened? It is a very unusual thing. "
Then, somehow, he was referring to something that had something to do with the Emperor -" talking about over 3,000 years, the longest in the world, governing by blood "- before asking Abe to take something over ,
"It's a very, very big event," Trump said, "and maybe you could explain the event because it's actually very exciting."
Abe then declared the abdication of a "living emperor, the" successor of the crown prince "for the" first time in about 200 years ".
Japanese government officials in Washington expressed high hopes for Trump's visit. During his first trip to Japan as President in November 2017, Abe hosted a banquet in his honor, inviting golf legend Isao Aoki and pop star Piko Taro, whose song "Pen Pineapple Apple Pen" caught the imagination of Trump's granddaughter Arabella three years ago. Trump used a toast to make fun of Abe's eagerness to meet him after he won the 2016 election.
However, this time, Trump will attend a national dinner chaired by Naruhito, and Japanese officials said they expect it to be more serious and more formal – a potential challenge to the impulsive president.
But if Abe's goal was to use the emperor's successor to flatter Trump for the sake of maintaining the bilateral alliance, it seemed a dividend. During a spontaneous Q & A session with reporters in the Roosevelt area on Thursday, Trump was asked if the US and Japan could reach a trade agreement to avoid tariffs on Japanese cars, which the president threatens to impose in six months. 19659020] Instead of answering directly, Trump turned to boast again of the "great cause with the Emperor" and then perhaps revealed the real reason why he is so enthusiastic.
"I am the guest, that is, the United States is the guest, but Prime Minister Abe told me quite specifically," You are the guest of honor. There is only one guest of honor, "said Trump. "I represent the country. Of all the countries in the world, I'm the guest of honor at the biggest event they have had in over 200 years. "