The Presidential Delegation that arrives in Japan today, led by Vice President Kamala Harris, demonstrates the respect President Joe Biden has for former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and his family, and sends a strong signal of our deep commitment to the Japanese people. While we are allies by treaty, we are friends in our hearts.
Abe-san lived a life worth living. He was a great statesman with strong connections to America and Americans; he was the first and only Japanese Prime Minister to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress; he accompanied President Obama on the first visit by a sitting U.S. President to Hiroshima; and he was the first Japanese Prime Minister to visit the memorial aboard the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor. These were historic events that show his unwavering commitment to the U.S.-Japan Alliance and our two countries’ friendship. Abe-san was indispensable for developing the strong relations between us, and his vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific informs strategic architecture across the region.
I am honored to be part of the Presidential Delegation and to have the opportunity to pay my respects to the former Prime Minister at the state funeral. As President Biden said on the day of Abe-san’s death: “The United States stands with Japan in this moment of grief.” It was true then; it remains true today.