U.S. Vice President Harris likely to attend former PM Abe’s state funeral

Reuters file photo
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris meets leaders from U.S. colleges and universities in her ceremonial office at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington on Aug. 8.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is set to visit Japan to attend the state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe scheduled for Sept. 27, sources in the Japanese government told The Yomiuri Shimbun. If realized, it will be her first visit to Japan since taking office.

It is significant that the vice president will attend the ceremony in place of President Joe Biden, whose has a scheduling conflict.

As Abe made efforts to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance, including enacting security-related laws, the Biden administration aims to show its appreciation for the former prime minister’s diplomatic achievements and underscore the importance of the Japan-U.S. relationship.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to meet with Harris and exchange views with her on the role the two countries play to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

Harris, whose mother emigrated from India, is the first Asian American to be elected the vice president.

“[Former] Prime Minister Abe was a great friend of the United States,” Harris said upon learning the news of his death.