Slices of Japanese business, politics and life
Will Obama find time to shoot hoops in Tokyo?
U.S. President Barack Obama will have his work cut out during his 24-hour stay in Japan from Friday as he and Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama try to soothe concerns that the decades-old alliance is fraying as the two countries adapt to China’s rise.
Other U.S. presidents have also had rough agendas in Tokyo, given a relationship historically plagued by trade spats and security angst.
But most have found time for a friendly photo op — sampling local culture or cuisine or squeezing in some exercise time.
Jimmy Carter jogged and swam at the U.S. ambassador’s residence and sampled “yakitori” chicken kebabs at a restaurant in downtown Tokyo with his family in 1979.
Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy were served Japanese tea in a traditional ceremony by Yasuhiro Nakasone at the then-prime minister’s mountain cottage, where the two leaders famously forged
their chummy “Ron-Yasu” relationship at a summit in 1983.
George H.W. Bush lost a tennis match against Emperor Hirohito and his heir, then fell ill and threw up at a state dinner in 1992.
But his son fared better a decade later, enjoying an informal dinner at a packed popular Japanese pub.
What, if anything, Obama will do to reach out to the Japanese public remains to be seen, but some have suggested the avid basketball playing president should demonstrate his moves on the court.
”He should find time for a pickup basketball game,” said one long-time foreign resident of Japan.
Photo credits: REUTERS/Pete Souza (Obama), stringer (Bush/Koizumi)