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Japan mulls greater hospitality for Michelle Obama than China

Japan mulls greater hospitality for Michelle Obama than China

Posted March. 18, 2015 07:20,   


Ahead of U.S First Lady Michelle Obama`s first visit to Japan from Wednesday through Friday, attention is being drawn to Tokyo`s treatment of her, amid Japan`s sense of rivalry against China.

A year ago, Michelle Obama paid a one-week visit to China with her two daughters at a time of an escalating territorial row between Tokyo and Beijing. At that time, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife treated the American first lady in special ways, meeting with her at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.

When U.S. President Barack Obama visited Japan a month later, however, she did not accompany him, saying she had to take care of their daughters and leaving Japan embarrassed. Japan`s Kyodo news agency commented the episode indicated that Washington was not taking Tokyo as seriously as it did in the past.

This time, Michelle plans to visit Japan by herself. However, the Japanese media are showing favorable reactions, saying that the visit indicates that Washington is trying to maintain a balance between Japan and China in consideration of Japan. Apparently to differentiate Japan from China, Fuji TV proposed that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe join a coffee time between Michelle Obama and his wife Akie for a "comfortable and friendly" get-together.

During her stay in Japan, Michelle Obama plans to discuss ways to promote education for girls in developing countries. She will fly to Cambodia on Saturday.