Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to address Congress in joint meeting

WASHINGTON — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is set to address a joint meeting of Congress on Thursday, a day after his government upgraded his country’s security alliance with the U.S. and ahead of a trilateral leaders’ summit with the U.S. and Philippines.

Kishida is set to address both the House and Senate at 11 a.m. ET, marking only the second time that Japan’s prime minister will formally deliver remarks to Congress. The first was Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2015, and the last address to lawmakers from a foreign leader was Israeli President Isaac Herzog in July 2023.

Vice President Kamala Harris will preside over the meeting Thursday.

Congressional leaders invited Kishida to speak to both chambers in early March, with Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., saying in a statement that it was part of an effort to lay “the foundation for collaboration in the years to come.”

“Japan is a close ally — critical to both our national and economic security,” added Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “This visit will continue to deepen the diplomatic and security relationship between our two countries and build on the strength of decades of cooperation.”

The visit is notable as Republicans, especially those in the House, resist providing foreign aid to countries including Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan. Before the invitation was extended to Kishida, the Republican and Democratic leaders on the House Foreign Affairs Committee urged Johnson to formally ask the Japanese leader to speak to Congress, saying in a letter that it would “signal congressional support for this critical alliance and help Members of Congress understand its importance to the economic and strategic interests of the United States.”

After the address, the vice president and Secretary of State Antony Blinken will host a luncheon with Kishida at the State Department.

In the late afternoon, Kishida will participate in the inaugural U.S.-Japan-Philippines trilateral summit at the White House, meeting with both President Joe Biden and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of the Philippines.

On Wednesday, Biden and Kishida announced plans to improve the U.S. military command structure in Japan, which hosts about 54,000 U.S. personnel. The two countries will also form a military-industrial council to explore the kinds of weapons they can jointly produce.

The White House hosted a state dinner for Japan’s leader later that night, whose guests included former President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton as well as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Apple CEO Tim Cook.

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