April 23 - President Barack Obama arrives in Tokyo for the first state visit to Japan by a U.S. president in 18 years. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARATION) U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Tokyo on Wednesday (April 23) at the start of a four-nation trip that comes at a time of rising tension in the region, and as the United States urges Japan's unpredictable neighbour North Korea not to conduct another nuclear test. Obama, who is making the first full state visit to Japan by a U.S. President since 1996, is expected to assuage worries by Tokyo and other allies that his commitment to their defense in the face of an increasingly assertive China is weak, without hurting vital U.S. ties with Asia's biggest economy. Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are also keen to show progress on a two-way trade pact seen as critical to a broader regional deal that would be one of the world's biggest trade agreements and is central to Obama's "pivot" of military, diplomatic and trade resources towards Asia. Japan, whose relations with rival China have chilled over the past two years, has been beset by anxiety over the degree to which reality matches rhetoric in Obama's promised "pivot". China, for its part, fears the U.S. is pursuing a policy of containment through its network of Asian allies, several of whom have long-standing territorial disputes with Beijing in the East and South China Seas. Obama and Abe are expected to send a message of solidarity after strains following Abe's December visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, seen by critics as a symbol of Japan's past militarism. A joint statement to be issued at the summit will state the two allies will not tolerate any attempt to change the status quo by force - a phrase that implicitly targets China - but likely not mention the islands or China by name, Japanese media have reported. Seoul is the second stop on Obama's four-nation swing, which also includes Malaysia and the Philippines.