When President Barack Obama touches down in Tokyo for the first state visit to Japan by a U.S. president in 18 years, his popular wife, Michelle, will be in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, urging national business leaders to hire more military veterans.

The arrangement, taken together with the president's decision to forgo the Diet address usually included in such visits, has put the Japanese media in a snit, with many commentators arguing that the decision shows Japan's diminished importance to the United States.

Mrs. Obama's high-profile China holiday in March with mother and two daughters in tow compounded the perceived slight. Her weeklong trip to the Middle Kingdom included visits with President Xi Jinping and his wife, meetings that seem to have left some bureaucrats sleepless in Tokyo.