Taylor Swift has her girl squad and now it appears so does Ivanka Trump.
Well, at least in Japan.
When the first daughter arrived in Japan on Thursday, she was greeted by dozens of black suit-wearing female bodyguards from Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department.
The all-female security team was deployed to protect Trump from the thousands of adoring fans she has in the Asian nation, but it seemed their usual body armor and riot gear was not fitting attire to guard Ivanka.
“We opted for a more cultivated look to suit the occasion," an officer in charge of the security plan told Japan’s Asahi Shimbun.
Ivanka has become something of a fashion and feminist icon in Japan since her father’s election to the presidency last November. In Japan, the eldest Trump daughter is seen as an aspirational figure for women whose careers get sidelined after having children.
“Women have to work more than twice as much to compete against men, but she has led her father’s business successfully while raising kids,” one women told The Japan Times in January.
With all the attention being lavished on Ivanka – at least four television stations in Japan live-broadcast her arrival at Tokyo’s airport – the security team is there for more than just looks. During a training drill for the media earlier this week, the security team quickly pounced on a woman who broke free from a crowd near the Imperial Palace Gardens in central Tokyo in a mock attempt to bring a present to a certain “VIP.”
Ivanka is in Japan to speak at the World Assembly for Women conference in Tokyo in advance of her father's arrival Sunday.
Speaking Friday, Ivanka addressed her trademark issues of female entrepreneurship and women’s economic advancement, while also praising Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ‘Womenomics’ agenda that aims to get more women in the workplace.
The U.S. president's daughter also addressed the issue of sexual harassment of women in Hollywood and other industries in the United States.
"All too often, our workplace culture fails to treat women with appropriate respect," she said. "This takes many forms, including harassment, which can never be tolerated.”
While the policies of President Trump – who left Friday on his own trip to Asia – have made Ivanka’s fashion line one of the most negatively perceived brands in the U.S. (a recent YouGov survey ranked it one of the bottom 10 brands in the U.S. by consumer perception out of 1,600 companies), there is a much different perception of her in Japan, China and other Asian nations.
Sales of her fashion line have skyrocketed in Japan and China over the last year and dozens of Chinese businesses have filed for trademarks to use Ivanka’s name to sell everything from wallpaper to alcohol.
"Many people think she’s like a princess," Lully Miura, a political scientist at the University of Tokyo, told the Washington Post. "She’s well educated, beautiful, sophisticated and rich. And it’s very surprising to Japanese women that she can also talk about things that are important to society."