Blinken says he and Biden eager to visit Japan

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that he and President Joe Biden hope to visit Japan as the two countries continue to deepen their ties, issuing a message of congratulations for the Japanese emperor’s 61st birthday on Tuesday.

Recalling with “great fondness” previous visits to Japan during their respective former tenures as deputy secretary of state and vice president, Blinken said the two are “eager to visit Japan again.”

He also said the U.S.-Japan alliance is “the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in a free and open Indo-Pacific,” referring to a concept that has evolved amid China’s rise.

Noting that the two countries’ common values and shared interests include upholding democracy, human rights and confronting security challenges, Blinken said, “We applaud Japan’s global leadership and look forward to further strengthening the bonds between our two countries in the year ahead.”

Biden took office on Jan 20. The two have not yet visited any country amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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