By Linda Sieg and Matt Spetalnick TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama will use a state visit to Japan on Thursday to try to reassure Asian allies of his commitment to ramping up U.S. engagement in the region, despite Chinese complaints that his real aim is to contain Beijing's rise. Obama will be treated to a display of pomp and ceremony meant to show that the U.S.-Japan alliance, the main pillar of America's security strategy in Asia, remains solid at a time of rising tensions over growing Chinese assertiveness and North Korean nuclear threats. "We're continuing to work," a U.S. official said on Thursday before the leaders were to meet on the first state visit to Japan by a U.S. president in 18 years. "We've made some progress and worked around the clock." Even if Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cannot complete a bilateral trade deal before the U.S. president leaves Tokyo on Friday, they are likely to try to project a sense of progress on key issues.
Mesa (United States) (AFP) - Michael Phelps returns to competition on Thursday for the first time since 2012, and the swimming superstar doesn't know just what to expect or where his comeback will take him. "I am looking forward to wherever this road takes me, and I guess the journey will start tomorrow," a relaxed Phelps said Wednesday as he looked ahead to racing in the 100m butterfly at the Mesa Grand Prix swim meet on Thursday. Phelps, originally entered the 100m butterfly and 100m freestyle on Thursday, said he'll swim only the 100m fly -- one of three individual events in which he still holds the world record.