Bidens greet Japanese PM Kishida, wife at White House for state visit

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcome Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida and his wife, Yuko Kishida, to the White House in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
1 of 2 | President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcome Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida and his wife, Yuko Kishida, to the White House in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

April 9 (UPI) -- Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan and his wife, Kishida Yuko, arrived in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday for the start of an official state visit to the White House, underscoring the growing importance of the U.S.-Japan relationship amid growing tensions in the Indo-Pacific.

The U.S-Japan alliance has strengthened under the administrations of both Kishida and U.S. President Joe Biden, who has positioned the relationship as a cornerstone in the United States' Indo-Pacific policy to deter aggression not only from China but the increasingly belligerent North Korea.


President Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcomed the Kishidas Tuesday evening at the White House's South Portico where they posed for pictures before heading inside.

Gifts were to be exchanged, according to the White House, which said in an earlier statement that the Bidens were expected to present the Kishidas with a black walnut wood, three-legged table made by an Japanese American-owned company in Pennsylvania.


The president was also to gift his Japanese counterpart a framed lithograph and a two-volume LP set, both of which were signed by American music icon Billy Joel. A vintage vinyl record collection of great American music artists in a custom leather presentation box and a soccer ball autographed by both national women's soccer teams were also to be given to Kishida by the American president.

The U.S. first lady was to gift Kishida Yuko a framed painting of the Yoshino cherry tree that they had planted together last spring in the South Lawn, the White House said.

The Bidens then hosted the Kishidas to a dinner at the BlackSalt seafood restaurant a short drive away from the White House. En route, both the president and prime minister posted a snap of them smiling and sitting together in the back of the car to their social media accounts.

"This is the scene from the car on the way to dinner with President Biden and his wife," Kishida Fumio said on X.


The dinner ended before 8:45 p.m.

Biden had crab cakes, he told reporters on exiting the restaurant.

Asked how they were, the president responded with one word -- "delicious" -- before entering the Beast presidential state car to return to the White House.

On Wednesday, the Kishidas are to be honored with a state visit and dinner.

The Bidens are scheduled to greet the Kishidas at 10 a.m. for an official arrival ceremony with Vice President Kamala Harris in attendance, followed by a bilateral meeting between the two world leaders in the Oval office beginning about an hour later.

A joint press conference will then be held, with the arrival of the honored guests for the state dinner to occur at about 6:30 p.m.

The meal will consist of a salmon dish inspired by the California roll with a main course of dry-aged ribeye steak with a sesame sabayon sauce, morel mushrooms, greens, fava beans and a shishito pepper butter.

"Every detail of tomorrow's state dinner has been thoroughly planned by an incredible team of people from across our government," Jill Biden said Tuesday in a press conference previewing the event.

With the visit and state dinner, Prime Minister Kishida becomes the fifth world leader to receive the honor during the Biden administration after the leaders of Australia, India, France and South Korea.


"Tomorrow, we find the common threads of humanity that connect us, that transcend distance or difference, built on shared values as we celebrate the flourishing friendship between the United States and Japan and those threads that bind us people to people, heart to heart," the first lady said.

The visit comes as the relationship between the two countries continues to deepen as they face shared threats, most notably China, but also North Korea, which has continued advancing its nuclear and weapons programs while increasing its threatening rhetoric.

The relationship has also grown militarily, with the two countries and South Korea having signed a trilateral pack in August of 2023 that will, among other things, increase communication on a range of strategic issues.

On Monday, the United States, Australia and Britain indicated that they will consider Japan's inclusion in the AUKUS military pact, which seeks to bolster defense technology collaboration in the face of China's growing naval threat in the Indo-Pacific.

Japan is also the United States fourth-largest overall trading partner, with Japanese firms being the second-largest source of foreign direct investment to the United States, according to the U.S. Congressional Research Service.

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