Japan’s Kishida Speaks to State Dinner Guests, Makes Jokes in English; PM Emphasizes Boosting Japan-U.S. Ties

Kohei Choji / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Paul Simon sings during a state dinner in Washington on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida spoke in front of the other guests in English and included some jokes in his speech at a state dinner held at the White House in Washington on Wednesday evening.

Kishida and his wife Yuko were guests at the state dinner, which was hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden.

“My wife, Yuko, … just told me that it was hard to tell who the guest of honor is. I was relieved when I was shown the seat right next to the president,” Kishida said in front of various celebrities at the event, drawing laughter from the crowd.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
President Joe Biden listens as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks ahead of a toast during a State Dinner at the White House, Wednesday, April 10, 2024, in Washington.

Kishida emphasized that they were working to elevate ties between Japan and the United States to even greater heights and then quoted the famous line from Star Trek, “To boldly go where no one has gone before.”

The state dinner was attended by YOASOBI, a popular J-pop duo, Robert De Niro and Paul Simon, who performed a song.