State visit likely to occur in late spring/early summer of next year.

This coming spring, Japan’s Emperor Akihito (pictured above) is set to step down, with his last day in the position scheduled for April 30. Japan won’t be monarchless for long, however, as his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will become emperor the following day, May 1.

Japan’s emperor holds no formal political power, but serves a ceremonial role as the embodiment of the country’s traditions and values, and also participates in numerous diplomatic program and activities, such as meeting with visiting overseas politicians and dignitaries. For Naruhito, it’s looking like the first foreign head of state he’ll meet with after becoming emperor is U.S. President Donald Trump.

The Japanese and U.S. governments are currently coordinating with one another on arranging an official state visit sometime between Naruhito’s coronation and the 2019 G20 summit which will be held in Osaka on June 28 and 29 and which Trump will also be attending, and so a date in late June seems most likely, as it would prevent the need for two separate trips to Japan.

Speaking at the G20 Buenos Aires summit last week, the U.S. president said that it would be a great honor to meet with Naruhito. Trump met with Akihito (as well as Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen singer Piko Taro) during his last visit to Japan, which occurred in the fall of 2017. It’s unclear how long Trump will be in the country this time, but the chefs at Tokyo restaurant Munch’s Burger Shack should probably be ready to fire up their grill.

Source: Asahi Shimbun Digital via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Wikimedia Commons/William Ng