President Trump to Be Japan’s First State Guest of the Reiwa EraImperial Family Politics
The government has invited President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump to be the first state guests of the new Reiwa era, during a trip to Japan scheduled for May 25 to 28. The itinerary will include the first state banquet hosted by the Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako.
A state visit is the most formal manner of welcoming a foreign head of state or member of royalty. The occasion typically includes such events as an official welcome at the Imperial Palace, a state call on the emperor and empress, and a state banquet. At times the emperor and empress will also travel with the guests around other parts of Japan. The number of state visits varies, but usually there are around one to four per year.
The first state guest during the 30-year Heisei era (1989–2019) was Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who visited Japan in October 1989; and the last state guests were Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and his wife Madam Nguyen Thi Hien in May 2018. Three US leaders have been state guests of Japan: President George H. W. Bush, who visited with First Lady Barbara Bush in January 1992; President Bill Clinton, who visited with First Lady Hillary Clinton in April 1996; and President Barack Obama, who visited in April 2014. President George W. Bush, who assumed office in January 2001, was not invited as a state guest to Japan.
Since a state visit includes many events that involve the imperial household, at least a three-day visit is required, which sometimes makes it difficult due to scheduling difficulties for a leader to accept an invitation. President Obama, for example, only visited Japan as a state guest on his third trip as US president.
During his November 2017 trip to Japan, President Trump was welcomed on an “official working visit,” which is the next highest level of courtesy after state guest and official guest. During that visit, the US leader was welcomed in a manner equivalent to a state guest, including a reception with the emperor and empress.
State Guests to Japan in Recent Years
|June 2013||France||President François Holland and Ms. Valérie Trierweiler|
|March 2014||Vietnam||President Truong Tan Sang and Madam Mai Thi Hanh|
|April 2014||United States||President Barack Obama|
|October 2014||The Netherlands||King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima|
|June 2015||Philippines||President Benigno Aquino|
|October 2016||Belgium||King Philippe and Queen Mathilde|
|April 2017||Spain||King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia|
|November 2017||Luxembourg||Grand Duke Henri and Princess Alexandra|
|May 2018||Vietnam||President Tran Dai Quang and Madam Nguyen Thi Hien|
Created by Nippon.com based on information released by the Imperial Household Agency.
(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump meeting the emperor and empress during an “official working visit” to Japan in November 2017. ©Jiji.)