Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

Will Obama find time to shoot hoops in Tokyo?

November 12, 2009


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)


Let me get this straight: Reuters is wondering whether “America’s rock-star president” will find time to “demonstrate his moves” on a basketball court in Tokyo?

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m wondering whether the president will find time to address our nation’s unemployment, which now stands at 10.2 percent. Or whether he’ll find time to make a decision regarding our “war of necessity” in Afghanistan.

Posted by unimpressed | Report as abusive

For a flavour of the US Military Base issue, here’s an interesting ground level view of old wounds in Okinawa – the sort of thing that must be addressed for progress…

http://www.counterpunch.com/mitchell1113 2009.html

Posted by henry | Report as abusive

Why in the world will he not just release his birth certificate. It would be so simple to put all of that to rest. Not to mention why he would spend a million dollars to fight releasing his records. Nice hard hitting journalism out there.

Posted by tww | Report as abusive

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