Japan using emperor, first lady’s birthday to court Trump

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduling a rushed visit to Washington to meet with President Donald Trump and celebrate first lady Melania Trump’s birthday, and then is inviting him to be first foreign leader to meet Japan’s new emperor, the two countries announced Friday.

Without close friends in Asia, Abe is seen as using every opportunity, even the emperor’s accession, to court Trump.

Tokyo and Washington said Friday that Trump and the first lady will make a state visit to Japan at the end of May, just weeks after Crown Prince Naruhito ascends Japan’s Chrysanthemum throne. Naruhito’s 85-year-old father, Emperor Akihito, is ending his three-decade reign on April 30 by abdicating.