WASHINGTON – U.S. President Barack Obama will visit Japan for three days from April 23 on the first leg of a weeklong Asian tour that will also take him to South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines, the White House said Monday.
Obama will move on to South Korea on April 25, Malaysia on April 26 and the Philippines on April 28 before departing for Washington the following day, it said.
Tokyo invited Obama to visit as a state guest and the trip was initially to have been for two days from April 24. Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida reported the schedule change to the Cabinet on Tuesday.
On April 24, Obama is scheduled to hold a summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and meet with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.
Japanese and U.S. leaders are expected to discuss strengthening the security alliance against the backdrop of North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, as well as prolonged negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, according to Japanese officials.
Obama has visited Japan twice since becoming U.S. president in 2009, but this will be his first visit since March 2011.
While in South Korea on April 25 and 26, Obama will meet with President Park Geun-hye and discuss such issues as North Korea’s nuclear threat and implementation of a bilateral free trade pact, the White House said.
His visit to Malaysia and the Philippines will come after he canceled a trip to the two Southeast Asian countries — as well as Indonesia and Brunei — planned for October to deal with a partial government shutdown over budget issues at home.