• Kyodo

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Michelle Obama, wife of U.S. President Barack Obama, plans to make her first visit to Japan as first lady in mid-March, mostly for private purposes, sources familiar with bilateral relations said Sunday.

Michelle Obama plans to take part in a Tokyo symposium to be also attended by U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, along with other events. She is also considering visiting Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital, the sources said.

The U.S. president visited Japan in April last year as a state guest but Michelle Obama did not accompany him due to school programs for their daughters, Malia and Sasha. The daughters may travel to Japan with their mother this time, the sources said.

Michelle Obama is likely to meet with Akie Abe, wife of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, among others during her stay in Japan, but her visit will “have no particular political purposes,” one of the sources said.

Michelle Obama may also visit Southeast Asian countries on the trip, they said.

A lawyer, she has engaged in various activities including delivering lectures on education and human rights as well as women’s empowerment.

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