Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga Photo: AP pool

Suga to hold talks with Biden in U.S. on April 16


Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will visit Washington for talks with President Joe Biden on April 16, the government said Friday. The trip had previously been announced, but not the exact date.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters that Suga will be the first foreign leader to meet Biden in person since he took office in January.

"That by itself is proof that the United States places importance on Japan," he said. "It is also significant as we demonstrate the strength of the Japan-U.S. alliance and the U.S. commitment to engage in the Indo-Pacific region."

Japan is eager to develop close relations with the new U.S. administration and was hoping to schedule Suga's visit sooner. Japanese media, including the Nikkei business newspaper, said the trip was delayed because of a request from Washington.

"We had been arranging (a visit by Suga) in the earlier half of April, but the date is set on April 16, as we aim to take all possible measures to ensure the success of the prime minister's U.S. visit and preparations for it," Kato said.

Tokyo hopes to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance, which it considers a cornerstone of its foreign and security policies, and to discuss ways to cooperate on policy toward China and North Korea and advance a joint vision of a "free and open Indo-Pacific" to promote rules-based order in the region. Climate change and the fight against the pandemic are also among key issues.

Japan, whose development of its own COVID-19 vaccine has lagged, also hopes to discuss cooperation in vaccine development for possible future pandemics as part of security cooperation.

"We will reconfirm coordination and cooperation between Japan and the United States," Kato said.

Because of the pandemic, the size of a Japanese delegation will be kept to a maximum of about 80 to 90 people, and all participants will be vaccinated ahead of the trip. Suga received his first shot on March 16 and is expected to have a second within days.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Fascinating news story.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

I hope he can beg Biden to airlift some vaccines to Japan. As embarrassing as that would be, I think it's the only way Japan will get its population vaccinated in the next couple of years.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

That by itself is proof that the United States places importance on Japan

That by itself is proof that the Japan States places importance on United States

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Wow! This will surely be a riveting meeting between 2 of the smartest, wittiest, and urbane men of the 21st century. Just imagine if we could be privy to their exciting characters and personalities in the same room. I do hope they stream it live for the world to enjoy!

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Suga and Biden..

Exciting meeting!


-2 ( +4 / -6 )

It's kind of funny in a way that both Biden and Suga are rather unexciting, but they are facing unprecedented crisis situations in terms of the covid pandemic, economy and China.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

An OAP's meeting, both countries really need younger, dynamic leaders.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

America is bankrupt. Biden will sell the 4 Tech and weapons. We will use pensions funds. So simple.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Just imagine if we could be privy to their exciting characters and personalities in the same room. 

Biden can get fairly energetic when he’s off his meds. If has a penchant for yelling for no reason and calling people fat and dog faced. You never know what could happen with old Joe. I’m hoping for a push-up contest. Joe loves to prove how manly he is.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I think Japanese politicians should stop looking up to America.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

"Suga will be the first foreign leader to meet Biden in person..."

That's only because he is the only leader incapable of using Zoom. Going in person in the middle of a pandemic is ridiculous.

Let us recall Abe was the first foreign leader to meet Trump and his pandering to Trump will not be forgotten.

If Kato thinks Japan is foremost in Biden's mind then he is delusional.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

One will mumble and not know what he was going to say and the other will not understand .........................its gonna be a hoot.

But why dont they just use face time or zoom or one of those damn apps everyone has these days, why burn the carbon to go and shake hands and make green house gases, is it something to do with hot air ?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Suga will be in a tough position. Biden wants everyone to "decouple" from China, but Japan obviously cannot and has not done that. The only reason for "decoupling" is that the US cannot compete with China, and they know it. I hope Japan stays with China. The USA is a sinking ship.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Also, they cannot use Zoom or something like that because they cannot stop China from hacking. China is a little too clever for them.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@ Tara Tan Kitaoka: I think Japanese politicians should stop looking up to America.

Unfortunately for Japan they are stuck between an up and coming Chinese dictatorship and a declining and increasingly dysfunctional ally. Japan is surrounded by historically hostile neighbors. Without the US, Japan will be at the mercy of China. South Korea is becoming indifferent to Japan’s security concerns. The Chinese don’t like Japan and would gladly push them around if given free reign. They are pushing and probing now as their regional military power increases and the US declines in relative and absolute terms.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Good news!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Hope they have their dose of coffee that day. Let's get some meaningful discussion going.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Meeting minutes:

Woof Woof

Good boy !
-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I think it's a great chance to relay info about the recent events in the Pacific region, go over Covid, the Olympics, economic difficulties and strategy, and US-Japan cultural relations. Of course there is more they can communicate.

China's recent diplomatic attitude is a sign that Japan and the USA need to go over and update their agendas and priorities towards China and the Pacific.

Japan shouldn't be a servant to U.S. policies- Japan is its own independent nation.

Hopefully the two leaders use the opportunity to develop and update their nation's interests in a beneficial manner for each other.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"...a declining and increasingly dysfunctional ally."

i don't know what planet you're living on, but since January, the US's "functional" factor has been on a tear.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Suga being the first foreign leader to visit the U.S. is proof of nothing, it's only self-glorifying. All other leaders are refraining because of Covid and understand how busy the U.S. government is in cleaning up after Trump. If Biden visited Japan before any other country then Kato could say what he did, but not in these circumstances. What an idiot.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What is it with Japanese PMs always being the first to rush off and see a new POTUS. It really is embarrassing, this subservient relationship.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The Japanese government said it will be 10 April?!! Again, no one should trust the Japanese bureaucrats ever!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites