TOKYO, March 18 (Xinhua) -- U.S. first lady Michelle Obama arrived in Tokyo Wednesday on her first trip to Japan during which she is expected to announce a partnership between both countries on supporting girls' education in developing countries.
The first lady, who alighted a U.S. government plane at Tokyo's Haneda airport, was all smiles, replete in a stunning yellow dress that was perfectly fitting for the spring climes that have graced the capital city in the last few days.
Before heading to Cambodia on Friday, the second leg of her tour, the first lady, without her husband U.S. President Barack Obama and her two daughters, is scheduled to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie separately in meetings on Thursday.
The first lady, who did not travel with the U.S. president during his visit to Japan in April last year, came ahead of Abe's planned departure for Washington during the Golden Week holidays here at the end of March through to the early May.
Along with Akie Abe, Michelle will address a group of female university students Thursday about the importance of female education in the world, in a series of events to help showcase the "Let Girls Learn" initiative launched by the first lady earlier this month.
Under the auspices of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the initiative seeks to spread the message of the importance of education for girls and women and their right to it, regardless of their economic, religious, cultural or geographical situations and circumstances.
"Globally 62 million girls are not in school. As a girl grows older the fight to get an education becomes even harder. Her family must be willing to pay school fees. She risks long, unsafe walks to school. She may be forced to marry. And she often lacks access to healthcare and the support she needs to learn," the USAID said in a statement.
The "Let Girls Learn" initiative is also endorsed by a slew of Hollywood A-listers, including Alicia Keys, Amy Brenneman, Anne Hathaway, Kelly Osbourne, Moby, Nick Cannon, Nikki Reed and Shonda Rhimes, to name just a few. All of whom give rousing accounts of the injustices around the world when it comes to female education, as well as give appalling accounts of brave young females who gave and lost their lives in the pursuit of education.
"Medical complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among adolescent girls in developing countries. Almost 60 percent fewer girls would become pregnant under 17 years in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia if they all had a secondary education," the statement concludes.
Friday will see the first lady, a Princeton graduate who majored in sociology and minored in African-American studies, and her cause to edify females in developing countries travel to the ancient capital city of Kyoto and visit the stunning, UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kiyomizu temple.
She will also visit Fushimi Inari Taisha, a Shinto shrine also in Kyoto, located at the base of Mt Inari. The mountain has a number of smaller shrines dotted along its 4-km trail, although it remains to be seen if the first lady intends to take on the 2-hour trek.
At some point prior to her departure on Friday for Cambodia, Michelle, who holds a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Harvard Law School, is also scheduled to meet with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.
The first lady and her Japanese female counterpart are expected to give a joint statement on women's education with Akie likely to announce Japan's support of the U.S.-led initiative to advance education for females in developing countries.
Michelle, who is herself a savvy media campaigner, is traveling on her two-nation tour with YouTube sensation Michelle Phan, 27, a Vietnamese-American who grew up in Florida and became a hit on the popular video hosting site for her makeup tutorials and beauty tips. Phan now enjoys a following of more than 7.5 million subscribers on YouTube.
Phan will be fielding questions for the first lady that come by way of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram about her trip and the progress of the "Let Girls Learn" initiative, with Phan's own follows giving the first lady a direct audience with a younger generation of females all over the glove.
It is not the first time the White House has turned to social media to push its envelope. President Obama himself conducted interviews with three YouTube stars ahead of his State of the Union address, which quickly went viral for the president fielding questions and put in situations that were an amusing blend of sincerity, humor and awkwardness.
PHNOM PENH, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Michelle Obama, spouse of U.S. President Barack Obama, will pay a visit to Cambodia later in March, according to a news statement from the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.Full story