The long awaited Japan trip has confronted a major delay, if not an outright cancellation. The recent news comes as a result of President Trump’s recent conflict with the Japanese Prime Minister. As you can probably assume, students and chaperones alike, who are currently stranded at a small airport in Mongolia, are infuriated by the recent turn of events.
It started on February 10 when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe traveled to the White House to visit the newly inaugurated President Trump. Abe was the second world leader to visit President Trump at the White House (at the time of the first meeting, Trump was not yet sworn in), so there was much anticipation about diplomatic relations. The plan was to have a meeting at the White House on the Friday and then head to Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Resort in Florida for a nice weekend of golfing, sun, and diplomacy. The conflict, however, started at the beginning of their White House meeting.
With the cameras flashing at the beginning of a press conference, Trump gave a handshake with Prime Minister Abe. The only problem was that Trump was pulling in Abe’s hand, while also occasionally patting down on it with his other hand. The handshake went on for a good 30 seconds, but to Abe it clearly felt like eternity. When Abe eventually got his hand out of the handshake, his facial expression became one of relief and surprise. While the rest of the weekend of meetings felt like fun and games, Abe returned home to Japan in frustration about the awkward moment.
As tensions started to rise between the leaders, a series of Twitter tweets erupted, and a travel ban between both countries went into effect. Unfortunately, due to the timing of the North Springs trip, the plane arrived just as the travel ban was enacted. One parent received a message shortly before the plane went out of wifi range: “Plane rerouted to Mongolia.”
Former North Springs AP World History teacher Mr. Benschine, who helped to organize the trip, managed to Tweet that he was confident that the students would still be able to go to Japan, even as the hours ticked by at the Mongolia airport.
“1nce we land, this group will B fine F there is threat b/c of the size of our studnts & chap R ones,” Tweeted Benshine. Another Tweet from Benschine added,“They wll B abl 2 hndle Ny threat, inclu. imitation handshakers & Yakuza.”
A few example of the large and intimidating people on the trip include AP World History teacher Mr. Day, Junior Scott Fineberg, as well as at least seven other students who are over six feet tall. Fineberg commented by Tweeting, “If yakuza threatN us, Mr. Day and I will hold nothing back. I WILL go to Japan. We will NT be stopped!”
With all of the money paid and flights booked, one hopes that travelling to Japan remains a possibility, but for now, the students are enjoying all of the amenities of the one-restroom Chinggis Khaan International Airport in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The Oracle should have more information shortly after 4/1/17.