FOREIGN DIGNITARIES/JAPAN/MELANIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Without close friends in Asia, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears to be using every opportunity, even the emperor’s accession, to court President Donald Trump. Abe is scheduling a rushed visit to Washington to meet with Trump and celebrate first lady’s birthday, and then is inviting him to be first foreign leader to meet the new emperor, the two countries announced Friday [4-19-19]. Tokyo and Washington said that Trump and first lady Melania Trump will make a state visit to Japan at the end of May, just weeks after Crown Prince Naruhito ascends Japan’s Chrysanthemum throne. Naruhito’s 85-year-old father, Emperor Akihito, is ending his three-decade reign on April 30 by abdicating. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said receiving Trump as the first state guest of the new imperial era would ‘symbolize the unshakable bond of the Japan-U.S. alliance.’”

Associated Press, “Japan Courts Trump Using Emperor, First Lady’s Birthday,” The New York Times online, April 19, 2019