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US emboldens Suga in hope for stable Indo-Pacific partner

Biden's focus on Japan reflects high hopes for contribution to region's security

NEW YORK/TOKYO -- U.S. President Joe Biden has chosen Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga as the first foreign leader to visit to the White House in his term. The trip is expected to be in the first half of April, after Suga and his entire delegation receive two shots -- three weeks apart -- of a COVID-19 vaccine.

For Suga, embattled by his unpopular handling of the coronavirus -- Japan is the lowest by far of the Group of Seven economies in vaccine inoculation rates -- and scandals related to his son, the visit comes as a much needed piece of good news. Coming after the inaugural summit of the leaders of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, it will be an opportunity to display to the world the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance and an opportunity to impress on Biden that their policy priorities, such as climate change and a free and open Indo-Pacific are much aligned.

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