TOKYO — As the president might say, the room was half full.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser, was the much-heralded guest at a government-sponsored conference on women’s empowerment in Tokyo on Friday, just two days before President Trump’s scheduled arrival here on his first stop of an Asia tour.
Yet Ms. Trump spoke to a room with so many empty seats that ushers hustled to move audience members forward several rows in the minutes before she walked to the podium.
The lukewarm turnout on Friday morning contrasted with the breathless coverage of her visit by the Japanese news media, which followed Ms. Trump’s every move around Tokyo and treated her landing at Narita International Airport and dinner at a luxurious restaurant on Thursday night as major news. The Japanese police touted the formation of a special squad of female officers to guard Ms. Trump during her visit, and the Foreign Ministry ran a lottery for admission to her speech at the Prince Hotel, near the foot of Tokyo Tower.
Josh Raffel, a White House spokesman, said Ms. Trump’s speech “was the most registered event” at the conference “but security delayed everyone from being able to get into the room on time.”
Kyoko Hokugo, director of the gender mainstreaming division at Japan’s Foreign Ministry, said that registration for the event was high, but “it was unfortunate that there were several people who could not enter the room during the speeches of Prime Minister Abe and Ms. Ivanka Trump. We needed to shut the door during their speeches for our security reasons.”
Perhaps another hint could be found in the Japanese public’s view of Mr. Trump: According to a survey last month by the Pew Research Center, less than a quarter of the population is confident that Mr. Trump will “do the right thing in world affairs,” down 54 percentage points from the confidence expressed for President Barack Obama last year.
Source: The New York Times