TOKYO: Japan will roll out its No. 1 golfer Hideki Matsuyama and a singer whose PPAP (Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen) song went viral last year to entertain US President Donald Trump when he visits next week.
Matsuyama, who has won five times on the PGA tour, will play with Trump and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe on a golf course near Tokyo, reported Kyodo news agency.
Singer Piko-Taro (pic), an apparent favourite of one of Trump's grandchildren, will attend a dinner party to be hosted by Abe, government sources told Kyodo.
A video showed Arabella Kushner, five-year-old daughter of Ivanka Trump, singing along to the "Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen" song after it went viral in November last year.
Sources said Abe told Trump that he enjoyed the video of Arabella singing to the 'PAPP' song during a meeting hastily arranged shortly after Trump won the US presidency.
During the meeting at Trump Tower in New York, Abe presented then president-elect Trump with a US$3000 gold-plated golf club by Japanese maker Honma.
During Abe's official trip to the US in February this year, the two leaders played a 27-hole round of golf over five hours at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida .
Trump will visit Japan between Nov 5 to Nov 7 in the first leg of a five-nation Asia tour, his first official trip to the region. The 12-day trip will also take him to South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.
Sources said former US President Barack Obama kept a business-like approach in his dealings with Abe.
During Trump's visit to Japan next week, the two leaders and Matsuyama have a round of golf scheduled for Nov 5 at the Kasumigaseki Country Club in Kawagoe, planned venue for golf events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Abe is taking a page from his grandfather's playbook in using golf to form ties with an American leader, with the pair appearing to have used the sport to help cement the two countries' alliance, reported Bloomberg News.
In 1957, then-Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi - Abe's grandfather and political role model - played a round of golf with President Dwight D. Eisenhower on a course in Maryland.
Matsuyama said he felt undeserving when he was contacted but accepted the surprise request to tee off with the two world leaders as it was a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity, reported Reuters.
"I wasn't sure if I'd be good enough," 25-year-old Matsuyama was quoted as saying by Kyodo news agency.
Trump, an avid golfer and owner of several courses around the world, has previously played rounds with Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and women's world No. 3 Lexi Thompson. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network
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