WASHINGTON – The need for a stronger U.S.-Japanese alliance and a “free and open” Indo-Pacific region will be top issues at Friday’s Washington summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, according to Japan’s ambassador to the United States.
Japan is “honored” that Suga will be the first foreign leader to hold a face-to-face meeting with Biden since the latter took office, Ambassador Koji Tomita said in written replies to questions from VOA. He predicted a warm personal rapport between the two leaders, both of whom hail from humble childhoods.
Tomita said Japan is “very encouraged” by Biden’s active engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, citing last month’s virtual Quad Summit in which Biden hosted the leaders of Japan, Australia and India.
“The international order is being challenged in various ways, so we hope to continue having specific discussions on the ways that Japan and the U.S. can take initiative in realizing our shared vision,” he added.
The Japanese envoy said he sees similarities between the two leaders. Suga, like Biden, is “a leader who did not inherit a political support network and had to build up his career through politics by themselves,” he said.
The Japanese prime minister is known to have grown…