President Obama, Caroline Kennedy and latest from Japan

Subject: Pool Report #5

Potus arrived at National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) at 3 pm

Bqckground from a WH official

President Obama and Ambassador Caroline Kennedy will tour the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation together with Dr. Mamoru Mohri, chief executive director of Miraikan. The tour will begin with a pre-recorded message from the International Space Station highlighting U.S.-Japan cooperation in space. Koichi Wakata, commander of the International Space Station, will be delivering the message together with Steve Swanson, an American flight engineer, and Rick Mastracchio, also an American flight engineer. Following the message, Dr. Mohri will introduce President Obama to the Geo-Cosmos, Miraikan’s signature exhibit, where Japanese Astronaut Soichi Noguchi will be on hand to explain the latest NASA-JAXA collaboration: the Global Precipitation Measurement satellite (GPM). GPM is an advanced earth-observation satellite that is capturing never-before-seen precipitation measurements. One student from Tokyo Institute of Technology and another from Tokyo University of Science will join this interaction.

Escorted by Dr. Mohri, President Obama and Ambassador Kennedy will view a demonstration of ASIMO, Honda’s humanoid robot. Speaking in English, ASIMO will welcome the President to Miraikan before running across the room and kicking a soccer ball. A student from International Christian University and another from Tokyo Institute of Technology will join the robot demonstration.

The President and Ambassador Kennedy also will see the SCHAFT robot and meet its designers. SCHAFT is based on Japanese technology and received initial funding from Japanese investors. The United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) later funded SCHAFT to participate in the DARPA Robotics Challenge, where it received first prize in the most recent trial in Florida in December 2013. A short video showcasing SCHAFT’s capabilities was also on display. SCHAFT was developed to assist with disaster response.

After the robot demonstration, President Obama and Ambassador Kennedy will also view a demonstration from four students from Tamagawa Academy’s robot club. In March 2014, the club’s robots won the RoboCup Junior Japan, a robot soccer competition.

Following the tour, President Obama will deliver remarks to an audience of 30 students highlighting U.S.-Japan science cooperation and the importance of studying abroad. Also joining the remarks will be Dr. Yasuharu Suematsu and Dr. C. David Allis, winners of this year’s Japan Prize.

Stephen Collinson
AFP White House Correspondent