Biden backs Japan PM on holding 'safe and secure' Olympic Games

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Suga and Biden, who wore masks for their meeting in a visit modified by precautions against the coronavirus, were seeking to challenge messaging from Chinese President Xi Jinping that America and democracies in general are on the decline following the political turmoil and worldwide withdrawal that marked Donald Trump's presidency.

Japan's ambassador to the U.S., Koji Tomita, recently told VOA the need for a stronger U.S.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned his Japanese counterpart in a call ahead of Suga's visit to see to it that China-Japan relations "do not get involved in the so-called confrontation between major countries", according to a Chinese government readout. "Japanese alliance and for our shared security", Biden told a joint news conference in the White House Rose Garden, calling the discussions "productive". "He won the Masters", Biden said.

Suga is the first foreign leader to visit the White House since Biden took office.

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.

In another swipe at China, Biden said the United States and Japan will invest together in areas such as 5G, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, genomics and semiconductor supply chains.

Speaking to reporters with Biden after their meetings, Suga also spoke out against a surge in attacks on Asians in the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic, and he and Biden pledged to fight such crimes. "That includes making sure we invest in and protect technologies that will maintain and sharpen our competitive edge".

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Two employees inside the building at the time told CNN affiliate WISH-TV that they heard as many as ten gunshots. Less than a week later, 10 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo.

The Biden administration may also have tougher requests of Japan, including pressing Suga for a rare public statement of support from a Japanese leader for Taiwan. Coincidentally, the meeting with Japan's leader comes just days after Biden announced a final US withdrawal from Afghanistan by September 11, a shift partly predicated on the desire to focus more on East and South Asia.

Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing that Japan and the United States should "take China's concerns and demands seriously, avoid words and actions that interfere in China's internal affairs and harm China's interests".

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris meets with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in the ceremonial office in Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington on Friday.

USA ships regularly conduct so-called freedom of navigation operations, sailing into worldwide waters that China claims as its own. The driveway was lined with a flag-bearing military honor guard.

On Friday morning, Suga participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. "At the same time we must work to establish a stable and constructive relationship with China". The United States has been more forceful than Japan in criticizing Beijing for human rights violations against the mostly Muslim Uyghurs of northwest China and democracy advocates in Hong Kong, reflecting Japan's reliance on good trading relations with China.

Suga said he was grateful for the meeting and reaffirmed the "new and tight bond" between Japan and the United States. Japan is grappling with rising coronavirus infections with fewer than 100 days until the planned start.

Yoshihide Suga says the country is doing everything possible to contain Covid-19 infections.

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