Mr. Suga will be the first foreign leader to visit Mr. Biden in person since he took office in January, according to Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato.
On April 16, Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will fly to Washington for talks with President Joe Biden, according to the government. The trip had been announced previously, but not the exact date. Mr. Suga will be the first foreign leader to visit Mr. Biden in person since he took office in January, according to Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato.
“By itself, this shows that the United States values Japan”, he said ”It’s also important because it shows the strength of the Japan-US alliance as well as the United States’ willingness to engage in the Indo-Pacific region.”
Japan is eager to build close ties with the new US administration, and Mr. Suga’s visit was supposed to take place in April, if not sooner. Mr. Suga’s trip was reportedly postponed due to a request from Washington, according to Japanese newspapers, including the Nikkei business newspaper. Mr. Kato said, “We had been preparing (Suga’s visit) for the first half of April, but the date has been set for April 16, as we intend to take all possible steps to ensure the prime minister’s U.S. visit and preparations are successful.”
Tokyo hopes to reinforce the Japan-US alliance, which it regards as a pillar of its foreign and security policies, as well as discuss ways to collaborate on dealing with China and North Korea, as well as advance a shared vision of a “free and open Indo-Pacific” to foster a rules-based order in the region. Climate change and pandemic preparedness are also important topics.
Mr. Kato said, “We will reconfirm coordination and cooperation between Japan and the United States.” Due to the pandemic, a Japanese delegation will be limited to around 80 to 90 members, and all participants will be vaccinated prior to the travel. Mr. Suga received his first shot on March 16, and a second is anticipated in the coming days.