US President Log 6 / Obama bids farewell to Emoperor and Empress on April 25

Tokyo, April 25, 2014, 10:00 am – 10:45 am

Good morning from the Okura Hotel, where President Obama is bidding a formal farewell to the emperor and empress before departing for Seoul.

The pool of correspondents was ushered to a hold area at the end of a hallway in the hotel,where Obama, after a false start, walked down the hall.

Asked by Julie Pace of the AP if he slept well, he said, “I’m still on4 am time.”

Another reporter asked Obama if he like the ice cream dessert in theshape of Mt. Fuji served at the state dinner.

Obama nodded, saying, “They have the green tea at the bottom that I’vespoken of having when I was six, and I was very pleased,” Obama said.“It was delicious.”

The emperor and empress then arrived and Obama moved to shake each oftheir hands.

I just wanted to say thank you for your wonderful hospitality,” Obamatold the couple, who were smiling and seemed relaxed.

“The press was asking if I enjoyed the green tea ice cream,” Obama said.

“Did you enjoy it?” the empress asked.

“Yes, absolutely,” he replied.

At that point, Obama and the royal couple walked back down the hallway.

Later, a tight pool was escorted to a reception room, with crystalchandeliers. Obama was sitting forward in his chair, speaking to thecouple through a translator.

The pool couldn’t pick up Obama’s words, across the vast carpeted space,before being ushered out.

At the end of the 10-minute meeting, the pool was ushered back to thereception where the doors initially swung shut in our faces.

Once Obama and the royal couple were in place, the pool entered. The royalcouple then shook hands with senior US officials.

The lineup was Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, husband Edwin Schlossberg, NSASusan Rice, Rob Nabors, Ben Rhodes, Danny Russel, Evan Madeiros, and ahandful of others that the pool could not identify.

Finally, Obama escorted the royal couple back down the hall at astately pace, followed by a retinue of advisers.

The emperor was speaking to Obama about education, which Obama said heknew was a “subject close to your heart.”

Obama then offered last words of thanks, through a translator,speaking personally and more broadly about the US-Japan relationship.

The empress told Obama to send her regards to his family, and he said,“I will tell them.”

“Sayonara,” Obama said to the Japanese press, as he walked away.

And with that, the goodbyes are complete.

Motorcade will depart shortly for Haneda Airport.


Motorcade ride to Haneda Airport was routine, with thin crowds liningthe streets, as we passed the Japanese Diet.

Motorcade crossed the Rainbow Bridge over Tokyo Bay under smoggy skiesthat we are told drift over from China.

Air Force One is rolling at 10:45 am.

Reported by Mark Landler of New York Times as the White House Pool.