Japan P.M. Kishida Greeted by U.S. President Biden in Washington; Kishida Gives Biden Lacquerware from Quake-Hit Wajima

U.S. President Joe Biden, right, talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida outside a Washington restaurant after eating dinner together with first lady Jill Biden and Yuko Kishida, Tuesday night in Washington.

WASHINGTON ― Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who is on a state visit to the United States, was welcomed to the White House by U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening. The two leaders and their wives, Yuko and Jill, then had dinner at a Washington restaurant.

Prior to the dinner, Kishida gave Biden items including Wajima-nuri lacquerware coffee cups and ballpoint pens. According to a government official, Kishida asked a young craftsman affected by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake to make the cups, which are engraved with the president’s and his wife’s name.

Earlier in the day, Kishida also planted a Someiyoshino sakura cherry sapling to commemorate the centennial of the birth of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, the first Japanese American member of Congress, and spoke with young Americans involved in bilateral exchanges and Japanese students studying in the United States.

Looking back on his elementary school days in New York, Kishida said: “At that time, I was the only Japanese in my class. I was occasionally troubled by the barriers of the language and culture, but [those experiences have] since become great assets in my life.”

At a Tuesday news briefing, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said, “From the very outset of the Biden administration, we focused on reinvesting in and reinvigorating our alliances, and nowhere has the strength and vibrancy of that strategy been on display more than in the Indo-Pacific and especially with Japan.”

At a summit meeting scheduled for Wednesday morning, Kishida and Biden are expected to agree on security cooperation to enable further coordination and unity between the Self-Defense Forces and U.S. forces, ensure cooperation with the other like-minded partner countries and strengthen the command authority of U.S. forces in Japan.

The meeting will be followed by a joint press conference and state dinner.

Kishida will deliver a speech at a joint session of Congress on Thursday and attend the first trilateral summit with Biden and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.