Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is greeted in Boston by Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and her family, as he sets off to meet U.S. President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and to address Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Boston on Sunday (April 26) to be hosted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as he begins a visit to the United States. The Japanese leader will fly to Washington on Monday (April 27), where he will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown and later visit the Holocaust Museum. Abe will meet President Barack Obama for talks on Tuesday (April 28) and be hosted at an official White House State dinner. During their meeting, the leaders are expected to discuss next steps after hopes of a breakthrough on U.S.-Japan trade during the meeting were dashed by the White House last week. A deal between Japan and the United States is vital to clinching a Trans-Pacific Partnership pact, as their economies account for 80 percent of the group. Obama also sees the TPP, which would cover a third of world trade, as an important counterweight to China's growing clout in the region. But the White House on Friday (April 24) said while substantial progress had been made in intense, high-level negotiations in Tokyo last week, more work was needed, further delaying a major 12-nation Pacific trade pact. Trade ministers from the 12 countries in the proposed pact are due to meet in late May. U.S. officials offered brighter prospects for announcements planned on Monday by the two countries' defense and foreign ministers unveiling of the first update of U.S.-Japan defense cooperation guidelines since 1997. Abe plans to send the message that Japan is ready to shoulder more of the burden. His Cabinet last July adopted a resolution reinterpreting the constitution to allow Japan's armed forces to provide military aid to the United States and other friendly countries under attack. Abe is also looking for fresh U.S. assurances that the United States will come to Japan's defense in any clash with China, such as over disputed islets in the East China Sea. When Abe becomes the first Japanese leader to address a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday, his words will be closely scrutinized for what, if anything, he says about Japan's wartime past, still a sensitive issue for Asian neighbors nearly 70 years after the end of World War Two.