Japans Imperial Couple Say Goodbye to President Obama

Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko said farewell to U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday morning before his departure from Tokyo to South Korea, the second destination of his four-nation Asian tour.    

Around 9:30 a.m. 12:30 a.m. GMT, the Imperial couple visited a Tokyo hotel where Obama was staying. The Emperor and the Empress shook hands with him, and they had a 15-minute conversation in Obamas room at the hotel.   

When the couple were leaving the hotel, Obama said that he very much appreciates the great hospitality he received during his stay in the Japanese capital and that U.S. citizens feel deep affection for the Emperor and the Empress, as well as the people of Japan.   

During the talks in the hotel room, the Emperor told Obama, “I hope your stay in Japan was comfortable and fruitful,” according to Imperial Household Agency officials.   

Obama responded that he believes the two nations can pass the bonds of friendship from current to future generations by continuing personnel exchanges, the officials said.


Obama Makes Concession on Marine Base – Tokyo, Japan

In an effort to mend fences with Japan, President Obama agreed on Friday to reopen talks on the relocation of the Okinawa base. President Obama announced that he would establish a high-level working group on the contentious issue of the continuing presence of a Marine base in Okinawa, speaking at a news conference just a few hours after he touched down in Tokyo to begin his first presidential trip to Asia.

His decision to, at least in theory, reconsider Japanese concerns about an agreement to move the current Marine base to another area on Okinawa, represents a concession. Less than a month ago, Defense Secretary Robert Gates appeared to have shut the door on reopening the issue, which was agreed to in 2006.

Source: NY Times
Photo: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times