The Presidential Planner Abroad (While You Were Sleeping)

By Jaketapper

Nov 13, 2009 4:45am

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports: President Obama landed Friday afternoon in Tokyo and has a busy agenda after an overnight flight. Mr. Obama and Prime Minister Hatoyama of Japan will hold a bilateral meeting and an expanded bilateral meeting at the Kantei, the principal workplace of the Prime Minister of Japan. This is the second in-person meeting for the two leaders, following their sitdown at the United Nations General Assembly in September. "The President will first thank them for their renewed commitment to Afghanistan," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said teeing up todays meeting, "They'll talk about the international economy, climate change, as well as North Korea and non-proliferation." The White House says that it is likely the President and Prime Minister will discuss the controversial Futenma base issue, but did not anticipate an agreement coming out of their meetings today.  As part of a 1996 pact, aiming to reduce the US military presence in Japan, the US and Japan agreed to relocate the Futenma Air Base in Ginowon city within seven years. The plan for an off-shore facility in Northern Okinowa has been met with resistence from environmentalists and local residents, who just this week turned out to protest the move in advance of Obama's visit. "I think that there has been progress on the specific basing issue of Futenma which I’d hasten to point out is one operational subset of a huge, healthy and very complicated alliance relationship," a senior administration official said today, "I realize that that subset issue gets a great deal of attention in Japan but what I was alluding to is a more substantive process where by at a political level our two governments can explore how the US-Japan alliance which has flourished over the course of 50 difficult years can be revitalized and can be adapted to meet the challenges that we face now and can reasonably expect in the future." The two leaders will then hold a joint press conference and afterward have a private dinner. The President will spend the night in Tokyo. — Sunlen Miller

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