Obama may visit Japan around April 23-25


The United States and Japan are trying to schedule for President Barack Obama to visit Tokyo sometime between April 23 and 25, a Japanese government source said Wednesday.

Japan plans to welcome Obama as a state guest, the first U.S. president to be accorded such treatment since Bill Clinton in 1996.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Obama is expected to stress the importance of the U.S.-Japan security alliance amid concerns over North Korea’s nuclear and missile development programs and China’s maritime expansion.

The two leaders are also expected to discuss issues blocking completion of a Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact involving both countries and 10 others.

They may also touch on Japan-South Korean relations that have been strained over such issues such women made into wartime sex slaves, or “comfort women,” by the Japanese military.

The U.S. government is trying to figure out how Obama can visit Japan and South Korea on a tight schedule during his upcoming trip to Asia.

The United States is expected to inform Japan sometime soon of final plans for Obama’s visit. Tokyo hopes to arrange for Abe and Obama to meet on April 23 or 24, according to the source.