Japanese officials wrestle with Trump arrangements for sumo date
The US president is keen to check out a sumo bout during his state visit to Japan this month.
Plans for US president Donald Trump to check out the ancient Japanese sport of sumo wrestling during a state visit are raising security issues for organisers.
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is eager to have Mr Trump and his wife, Melania, attend the final day of a 15-day tournament in Tokyo on May 26 and hand over a trophy to the winner.
But Japanese media reports claimed the issue for organisers is that more than 1,000 seats near the ring are generally sold out, and buyers will all have to be checked in advance.
They may also have to ban the sale of canned beer in the front section, where Mr Trump is expected to sit, the reports said.
Ring-side seats are especially coveted for the ancient wrestling sport of sumo.
Mr Trump’s state visit from May 25-28 is expected to focus on regional security and trade issues.
He is also expected to be the first foreign dignitary to meet Emperor Naruhito, who inherited the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1.
Every Japanese prime minister likes to trumpet close ties with the nation’s most important ally, but Mr Abe has made showing off close relations with Mr Trump a key part of his profile.
The US leader has said he is having a trophy made for the sumo winner, which Japanese media have already informally dubbed the “Trump Cup”.
“I’ve always found that fascinating,” Mr Trump said of sumo last month, describing the event as “something I’ll enjoy very much”.
The winning wrestler gets several trophies, so adding another cup would not be a problem.
The ring-side seats are called masu seki and cost about 10,000 yen (£78) each. They do not have chairs but are boxed in areas with Japanese “zabuton” mattresses for sitting on the floor. Seats up higher in the stands have chairs.
News Post Seven reported that chairs could be installed to accommodate Mr Trump.
Spectators entering Ryogoku Kokugikan, the venue in Tokyo, will go through metal detectors and other standard security checks.