Ivanka Trump, a Media Darling in Japan, Draws Lukewarm Turnout in Tokyo


Still, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is one in every of Mr. Trump’s closest allies amongst world leaders and Mr. Abe has steadfastly supported the Trump administration in its aggressive stance towards North Korea.

Commentators in Japan have urged Ms. Trump performed an instrumental function in planting the seeds of that relationship, which has since blossomed with the leaders’ shared love of golf, which they’re scheduled to play throughout Mr. Trump’s go to.


Ms. Trump arriving in Tokyo on Thursday. President Trump is scheduled to reach Sunday as the primary cease of an Asia tour.

Issei Kato/Reuters

“Mr. Trump didn’t like Japan at first,” Katsuya Konishi, a journalist, mentioned on a morning information present on TV Asahi on Friday. “But he gradually changed his mind. I think it was the influence of Ivanka. She said Prime Minister Abe is smart and advised Mr. Trump to listen to him.”

Ms. Trump’s look on the World Assembly for Women added a contact of movie star glamour to the occasion, and was in step with Mr. Abe’s strategy to feminine empowerment, wherein public gestures have outstripped real change.

In his introductory remarks on the Friday occasion, Mr. Abe invoked his oft-stated objective of making a society wherein girls can “shine.” But concrete modifications have been sluggish to materialize. This week, the World Economic Forum launched its annual Global Gender Gap Report, which ranked Japan 114th out of 144 nations in making progress towards gender equality. In a parliamentary election final month, girls received about just one in ten seats.

And whereas Mr. Abe mentioned that 1.5 million extra girls have joined the work pressure since he grew to become prime minister 5 years in the past, making girls about 45 p.c of the full in Japan, greater than half of them work in part-time jobs with decrease advantages and fewer hopes of profession development.

“What is Ivanka Trump going to be to Japan more than a celebrity figure?” mentioned Nancy Snow, a professor of diplomacy at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies who attended the speech. “Is she really going to up the ante here or move the needle? It’s sort of window dressing and making Japan maybe feel better about itself, despite these statistics.”

Among Japanese, response to Ms. Trump’s go to mirrored some entrenched attitudes towards girls. Several commentators on TV Asahi famous the salmon-colored, miniskirted go well with that Ms. Trump wore to her speech, and one urged that her skirt was “rather short” for a presidential adviser.

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Several girls who attended Ms. Trump’s speech commented on her look in explaining why they admired her.

“She is a beautiful female leader,” Rena Hayakawa, 21, a political science main at Meiji University in Tokyo, mentioned earlier than the speech. “Her fashion is great. She is a role model for women.” Maina Tanaka, 33, a monetary commerce supplier, mentioned she appreciated Ms. Trump’s “fair views on politics and economy” and that she revered how Ms. Trump “stays positive and gorgeous.”


In remarks on the Friday occasion, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe invoked his oft-stated objective of a society wherein girls can “shine,” however modifications in Japan’s gender parity have been sluggish to take form.

Pool picture by Eugene Hoshiko

Mieko Nakabayashi, a professor of politics at Waseda University, mentioned Ms. Trump’s glamour would draw consideration to the reason for girls.

“She’s not just an official, but also a princess of the president,” mentioned Ms. Nakabayashi, who spent a decade working as a price range staffer within the United States Senate. “So that kind of celebrity is really liked in Japan.”

Ms. Nakabayashi added that many Japanese girls weren’t but acutely aware in regards to the giant pay hole between women and men. “Therefore, for the Japanese government, getting attention is really an important step.”

In her speech, Ms. Trump centered on initiatives within the United States, citing the president’s price range plan for paid household go away and his administration’s proposed tax modifications, which she mentioned would “put more money back in the pockets of hard-working Americans.”

She additionally known as for nations just like the United States and Japan to “empower women who live in countries that prevent them from leading.”

In Mr. Abe’s introductory remarks, he mentioned Japan would contribute $50 million to the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, a program that goals to lend cash to girls’s companies that Ms. Trump helped introduce on the Group of 20 summit badembly in Hamburg, Germany, in July.

Critics famous that Ms. Trump, who didn’t take any questions from the viewers or the information media, didn’t deal with considerations about how employees are handled at factories in China and Indonesia that manufacture clothes for the style model that Ms. Trump based.

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Earlier this summer season, Ms. Trump’s model known as off a cope with a big Japanese clothes firm after studying that its largest shareholder was a government-owned financial institution.

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