by Trevor Hunnicutt
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US First Lady Jill Biden will lead the US diplomatic delegation to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, sending a message of support for the Asian ally despite concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic.
Biden, wearing a striped dress and a white sweater, left Washington on Wednesday morning to begin his long journey to Japan.
Olympic and Japanese authorities forged ahead with the Olympics, despite public opposition to hosting a large number of athletes, officials and journalists in the country –more than 11,000 athletes in the Olympic Village alone–, dozens of whom have already tested positive for Covid-19 .
But US President Joe Biden sees the Olympics, postponed because of the pandemic, as a critical time to demonstrate support for a long-time ally and trading partner he hopes will help the US attempt to contain the China’s growth, said his advisers.
Biden will arrive in Tokyo on Thursday afternoon, before having dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his wife, Mariko Suga, at Akasaka Palace, according to his spokesman.
The Olympics is the First Lady’s first solo trip abroad and will include three days in Japan.
She plans to attend the opening ceremony on Friday and meet with US team athletes, US foreign service officials and Japanese Emperor Naruhito.
(By Trevor Hunnicutt)
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