• Politics & Government

Japan PM Kishida’s Wife ‘Deepened Relationship’ with U.S. First Lady

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Yuko Kishida, wife of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, is interviewed at the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday.

Following a solo visit to the White House earlier this month, Yuko Kishida, wife of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, told The Yomiuri Shimbun on Thursday that she had reaffirmed the ties between Japan and the United States and felt motivated to engage in diplomatic exchanges with leaders’ spouses at an upcoming Group of Seven summit meeting in Hiroshima. Yuko Kishida visited the United States from Sunday to Tuesday at the invitation of U.S. first lady Jill Biden. The following are excerpts from her interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun.

The Yomiuri Shimbun: How was your visit to the United States?

Yuko Kishida: I visited the White House on Monday, and Mrs. Biden welcomed me with a smile. We talked over matcha green tea, which I made with tools I brought from Japan, and used shovels to plant a cherry tree in the garden. We deepened our personal relationship and reconfirmed the bonds between Japan and the United States. I believe the ties between our two countries will become even stronger when the cherry tree grows and blooms.

Yomiuri: The day before your departure, an explosive object was thrown toward the prime minister at a campaign speech venue. [What was your reaction?]

Kishida: I was very shocked and worried. However, my husband encouraged me by saying, “Take care and have a good trip.”

Yomiuri: What is the significance of diplomacy among leaders’ spouses?

Kishida: It would be ideal if our diplomacy can support the leaders’ diplomatic efforts indirectly. My visit to the U.S. has deepened my relationship with President Joe Biden and Mrs. Biden. I hope to continue to be proactive and contribute to diplomacy whenever the opportunity arises. If we can have heart-to-heart exchanges, mutual understanding will deepen, and this will lead to peace. I’ll continue to work from that standpoint.

Yomiuri: What are you enthusiastic about regarding the G7 summit in Hiroshima on May 19-21?

Kishida: I’d like to provide hospitality that conveys the charm of traditional Japanese culture, as well as the culture, foods and climate of Hiroshima.

— The interview was conducted by Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer Takashi Nakagawa