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Ivanka Trump Speech In Tokyo Draws Meager Crowd (Photos)

Ivanka Trump Speech In Tokyo Draws Meager Crowd (Photos) Promo Image

First daughter Ivanka Trump's speech at a women's empowerment conference in Tokyo is drawing attention for an embarrassing reason: Hardly anyone showed up.

Appearing in her role as adviser to the president, Ivanka arrived in Tokyo two days before her father, President Donald Trump, arrived for the start of his official Asia trip.

On Nov. 3, Ivanka shared the stage at the World Assembly for Women conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. But despite the big names, the conference hall was sparsely filled at best. 

In the final minutes before Ivanka and Abe took the stage, ushers were rushing attendees forward, trying to fill the first several rows of chairs, The New York Times reports.

White House and Japanese officials said a higher turnout was expected, but most people who registered were unable to enter the conference hall for security reasons. 

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"It was unfortunate that there were several people who could not enter the room during the speeches of Prime Minister Abe and Ms. Ivanka Trump," said Kyoko Hokugo, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official. "We needed to shut the doors during their speeches for our security reasons."

A White House spokesperson said the speech "was the most registered event" and the crowd was delayed by security.

Despite these statements, there was no line of people waiting to get into the room, according to a reporter for The Guardian who arrived 10 minutes before the event began. 

Another attendee who entered as the doors were closing told The Guardian there was a "handful" of people waiting outside the room.

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No matter the reason for the low attendance, it is a sharp contrast from the positive coverage Ivanka has received from the Japanese media, according to The New York Times. 

Japanese opinion of the U.S. president is low, according to a Pew Research survey, but Ivanka is seen as the adviser responsible for raising the importance of Japan in her father's eyes. 

"Mr. Trump didn't like Japan at first," Japanese journalist Katsuya Konishi said on a Japanese news show. "But he gradually changed his mind. I think it was the influence of Ivanka. She said Prime Minister Abe is smart and advised Mr. Trump to listen to him."

Ivanka and Abe spoke on the importance of women in the economy during their remarks at the conference. 

Abe touted his "womenomics" policy, which in part seeks to grow the role of women in the Japanese economy, particularly in corporate leadership roles. 

"We've put our full strength into creating an environment where it's easy for women to work. I really feel that Japan has come a long way," he said, according to The Guardian. 

Abe's comments came one day after a report from the World Economic Forum ranked Japan 114 out of 144 countries on improvements in gender equality. 

Sources: The New York Times, The Guardian / Featured Image: A. Shaker/VOA / Embedded Images: Anna Fifield/Twitter, Eugene Hoshiko/AFP/Getty Images via The Guardian

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