WASHINGTON: Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will visit the United States in April, becoming the first leader of a foreign nation to hold a face-to-face meeting with President Joe Biden since he took office in January, the White House announced on Friday.
The dates and other details of the first visit of the foreign leader under the Biden Administration are still being worked out, a senior administration official said ahead of the maiden Quad virtual summit of leaders from Australia, India, Japan and the United States.
“We are pleased to announce today that the first foreign leader to visit the United States in person will be Japanese Prime Minister Suga, who, again, the President will engage within the Quad,” said the official, who requested anonymity.
“We have not established yet a firm date for this, but we are working closely to ensure that this is convenient and that the standards are in place on both sides,” the official said.
While the White House did not provide any specific date about Suga’s visit to the US, various media reports have mentioned that the visit will be in April and after he and his entourage complete their Covid-19 vaccinations.
Meanwhile, in Tokyo, the Japanese government announced on Friday that Prime Minister Suga will travel to Washington next month for his first face-to-face summit with President Biden after he and his entourage complete their Covid-19 vaccinations.
Chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato said Suga is expected to be the first foreign leader that Biden meets with since he took office on January 20. The trip is expected to take place in the first half of April, AP reported from Tokyo.
Senior Biden administration officials, however, refrained from giving any further details of the first visit of the foreign leader.
“I have nothing further to add on the specifics of the timing, other than Japan will be the first, the Japanese leader, Prime Minister Suga will be the first visit to Washington DC,” the official said.
“I think we all recognise that our countries are both dealing with a number of issues. Our intention is to work to find a date that is mutually convenient,” the official said.
According to the official the consultations for the visit have already begun.
“We are looking forward to it and we’ve already begun some consultations about areas that we want to enhance our cooperation,” the official said.