Jill Biden touches down in Japan for the Tokyo Olympics

First lady Jill Biden arrived in Tokyo, Japan Thursday afternoon ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony for the 2021 summer Olympic games that have already been plagued by a spike in COVID cases.

Her first official event was a dinner at Akasaka Palace with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his wife, Mariko Suga.  

The trio briefly posed for a photo-op with reporters with Biden wearing slippers and a $2,832 Tom Ford dress, alongside Prime Minister Suga in socks and Mariko Suga in bare feet, as is custom.  

The trip to Tokyo marks the first lady’s first solo trip abroad since her husband came into office in January. 

Biden comes as there continue to be COVID-19 concerns about holding the games. 

Tokyo virus cases hit a six-month high on Wednesday.  

The first lady resumed wearing a mask – the floral number she wore on inauguration night – when she arrived at Yokota Air Force Base. 

She was tested – along with staff, press and Secret Service – for COVID-19 on board   Executive One Foxtrot between Anchorage, her first stop, and Japan.     

Biden said she was excited to get to Japan. ‘Yes aren’t you? I’ll see you there,’ the first lady told reporters as she departed the Alaska stop.   

She and only one other American, U.S. Embassy Tokyo official Raymond Greene, are the only two members of the official presidential delegation for the games.     

First lady Jill Biden (left), sporting slippers, posed for photographs alongside Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (center), who's in socks, and his wife Mariko Suga (right) who's barefoot, as is custom. Biden is dining Thursday night with the Sugas at Akasaka Palace ahead of the Olympic Games

First lady Jill Biden (left), sporting slippers, posed for photographs alongside Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (center), who's in socks, and his wife Mariko Suga (right) who's barefoot, as is custom. Biden is dining Thursday night with the Sugas at Akasaka Palace ahead of the Olympic Games

First lady Jill Biden (left), sporting slippers, posed for photographs alongside Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (center), who’s in socks, and his wife Mariko Suga (right) who’s barefoot, as is custom. Biden is dining Thursday night with the Sugas at Akasaka Palace ahead of the Olympic Games

First lady Jill Biden arrived in Tokyo, Japan Thursday afternoon to attend the opening ceremony of the summer Olympics

First lady Jill Biden arrived in Tokyo, Japan Thursday afternoon to attend the opening ceremony of the summer Olympics

First lady Jill Biden arrived in Tokyo, Japan Thursday afternoon to attend the opening ceremony of the summer Olympics








With COVID cases rising, the first lady appeared wearing a mask despite being vaccinated against the virus

With COVID cases rising, the first lady appeared wearing a mask despite being vaccinated against the virus

With COVID cases rising, the first lady appeared wearing a mask despite being vaccinated against the virus 

First lady Jill Biden greets people at Yokota Air Force Base in Tokyo, Japan

First lady Jill Biden greets people at Yokota Air Force Base in Tokyo, Japan

First lady Jill Biden greets people at Yokota Air Force Base in Tokyo, Japan 

First lady Jill Biden waves to reporters as she arrives in Tokyo, Japan ahead of Friday's opening ceremony

First lady Jill Biden waves to reporters as she arrives in Tokyo, Japan ahead of Friday's opening ceremony

First lady Jill Biden waves to reporters as she arrives in Tokyo, Japan ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony 

First lady Jill Biden is captured getting off of Executive One Foxtrot Thursday afternoon

First lady Jill Biden is captured getting off of Executive One Foxtrot Thursday afternoon

First lady Jill Biden is captured getting off of Executive One Foxtrot Thursday afternoon 

First lady Jill Biden speaks at the Alaska Native Health Center on Wednesday in Anchorage, Alaska, a stopover she made en route to Tokyo, Japan for the Olympic Games

First lady Jill Biden speaks at the Alaska Native Health Center on Wednesday in Anchorage, Alaska, a stopover she made en route to Tokyo, Japan for the Olympic Games

First lady Jill Biden speaks at the Alaska Native Health Center on Wednesday in Anchorage, Alaska, a stopover she made en route to Tokyo, Japan for the Olympic Games 

First lady Jill Biden greets people on the tarmac of Joint Base

First lady Jill Biden greets people on the tarmac of Joint Base

First lady Jill Biden greets people on the tarmac of Joint Base 

She departed for Japan Wednesday morning and made a stopover in Anchorage, Alaska to talk about the coronavirus vaccine

She departed for Japan Wednesday morning and made a stopover in Anchorage, Alaska to talk about the coronavirus vaccine

She departed for Japan Wednesday morning and made a stopover in Anchorage, Alaska to talk about the coronavirus vaccine  

Mariko Suga and Biden will also spend time together Friday morning at the Akasaka Palace, as they didn’t have the opportunity in April when the Japanese prime minister came to the White House because the Japanese first lady didn’t make the trip. 

To diminish any COVID risk, the first lady will then meet virtually with members of Team USA. On Monday, two Team USA athletes, alternate gymnast Kara Eaker and basketball player Katie Lou Samuelson, had already tested positive for COVID-19. 

Biden will then meet Japanese Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace. 








In the evening, the first lady will attend the Tokyo Olympics’ opening ceremony.  

On Saturday, Biden will spend time at the U.S. embassy in Tokyo. 

She plans to dedicate a room at the Chief of Mission Residence to Irene Hirano Inouye and Sen. Daniel Inouye. 

Irene Hirano Inouye died in 2020. She founded the U.S.-Japan Council and was the group’s first president. She also served as the first executive director of the The Japanese American National Museum in her native Los Angeles. 

She was married to Daniel Inouye, who passed away in 2012 and served as a senator to Hawaii for nearly 50 years. 

After the dedication, the first lady will watch the U.S. versus Mexico softball game with foreign service members and their families. 

Biden will then head to Olympics venues to watch several events before leaving Japan. 

The first lady will be among a handful of people cheering athletes on as organizers announced earlier this month that spectators would be banned from Olympics’ venues as COVID-19 cases spiked in Japan.    

Dr. Jill Biden and Queen Elizabeth II

Dr. Jill Biden and Queen Elizabeth II

Dr. Jill Biden and Kate Middleton

Dr. Jill Biden and Kate Middleton

Highlights of the trip also included Dr. Jill Biden meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle (left) and a school tour with Kate Middleton (right) 

Biden traveled with President Joe Biden last month to the first portion of his first global outing since being sworn-in in January. 

The first lady accompanied the president to the G7 in Cornwall, England, where she spent time with Carrie Johnson, the wife of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and their son Wilfred in Carbis Bay. 

Highlights also included a school tour with Kate Middleton and a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle with her husband.  

Jill Biden stops off in Alaska to tout getting vaccines to tribal communities

First lady Jill Biden made a stop in Anchorage, Alaska Wednesday en route to the Tokyo summer Olympics

Biden took a tour of the Alaska Native Medical Center, where she marveled at some of the ways Alaska medical providers distributed COVID-19 vaccines, especially to tribal communities.     

Dr. Cate Buley, the Medical Director of Primary Care Clinics at Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium told the first lady, ‘we delivered some vaccines in some whale-watching boats,’ adding that it was ‘nothing I ever expected.’ 

‘Or you want to do again,’ Biden said laughing.   

Valerie Davidson, the President of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, greeted the first lady by pointing out a garbage can outside where they had recently spotted a bear. 

‘Maybe it will come back for my visit,’ Biden said.   

Biden was given a tele-health demonstration at the site. 

A map showed some of the distances communities are spread – with some as far as the distance from California to Georgia.

First lady Jill Biden made a stop in Anchorage, Alaska Wednesday en route to the Tokyo summer Olympics

First lady Jill Biden made a stop in Anchorage, Alaska Wednesday en route to the Tokyo summer Olympics

First lady Jill Biden made a stop in Anchorage, Alaska Wednesday en route to the Tokyo summer Olympics

The first lady was greeted on the tarmac and shown a garbage can where they recently spotted a bear. 'Maybe it will come back for my visit,' Biden said

The first lady was greeted on the tarmac and shown a garbage can where they recently spotted a bear. 'Maybe it will come back for my visit,' Biden said

The first lady was greeted on the tarmac and shown a garbage can where they recently spotted a bear. ‘Maybe it will come back for my visit,’ Biden said

Dr. Joseph Park, a cardiologist at the center, walked Biden through how people can see their EKG via computer. Dr. Cate Buley, beaming in from Juneau, said, ‘the silver lining to the pandemic has been the explosion of this tele-medicine service.’ She talked about how tele-medicine has led to cancer discoveries and healthy baby births.

Biden asked Buley how much mental health services she provides. 

Buley responds that ‘it’s increased a drastic amount.’

Biden asked Buley, ‘are most of your patients receptive to getting the vaccine?’

‘Yes we have extremely high vaccination rates,’ Buley answered.

Afterward the first lady gave brief remarks.  

Davidson used a native Alaskan tribal language to greet the first lady and then switched to language. She also noted that ‘some of our communities we have 100 per cent vaccination.’ 

Dr. Anne Zink, the chief medical officer for the state of Alaska, also gave welcome remarks.

Dr. Biden took off her mask to speak. 

First lady Jill Biden is shown dolls wearing Alaskan native costume as she enters the Alaska Native Health Center Wednesday, receiving a trou from (from left) Dr. Anne Zink, the chief medical officer for the state of Alaska, and Valerie Davidson, the President of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

First lady Jill Biden is shown dolls wearing Alaskan native costume as she enters the Alaska Native Health Center Wednesday, receiving a trou from (from left) Dr. Anne Zink, the chief medical officer for the state of Alaska, and Valerie Davidson, the President of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

First lady Jill Biden is shown dolls wearing Alaskan native costume as she enters the Alaska Native Health Center Wednesday, receiving a trou from (from left) Dr. Anne Zink, the chief medical officer for the state of Alaska, and Valerie Davidson, the President of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

One of Dr. Jill Biden's greeters held a polar bear statue in his hand as he stood on the tarmac Wednesday to wave Executive One Foxtrot goodbye as the first lady departed for Tokyo, Japan

One of Dr. Jill Biden's greeters held a polar bear statue in his hand as he stood on the tarmac Wednesday to wave Executive One Foxtrot goodbye as the first lady departed for Tokyo, Japan

One of Dr. Jill Biden’s greeters held a polar bear statue in his hand as he stood on the tarmac Wednesday to wave Executive One Foxtrot goodbye as the first lady departed for Tokyo, Japan 

Biden noted how Zink works out of a yurt.

Biden took the podium and tried several times to repeat the name of the Alaskan tribe that originally held the land – Dena’ina.

‘See I’m getting it,’ Biden said after a few attempts.

‘So as you know I’m heading for the Tokyo Olympics,’ she told the small group of reporters in the room. ‘I asked if I could just stay a little bit longer,’ she said of the stopover in Alaska.

‘This state really is special to Joe and to me,’ she added.

She talked about traveling the state with the late Sen. Ted Stevens, who served with President Biden in the U.S. Senate.

‘We traveled all over this state by plane – well, mostly by plane,’ Biden remarked.

She also talked about how she and Catherine Stevens were pregnant at the same time, when Biden was pregnant with daughter Ashley. ‘And it was really a big deal in the Senate because here there hadn’t been in a baby in the Senate for a long time,’ Biden said. ‘So most of them were, I guess, old men,’ she said to laughter.

She heralded the center ‘which has helped lead this state in vaccinating not only natives but non-natives as well.’

Biden talked about how she met a woman at her exercise class in Washington. ‘Jill she said I want to thank you for what you’re doing.’ ‘She said I lost four members of my family to the virus and she started to cry. And she said, you know what I did. I said what did you do Jackie And she said I went and I got 140 people to get the vaccine.’

‘I just felt so terrible for her,’ Biden continued. ‘This this is our path forward, reaching out to those who are still undecided, persuading them to protect themselves and others. And we need to make this care, person by person,’ she said, calling this the ‘last push.’

‘I’m asking all of you who are listening right now to choose to get vaccinated,’ Biden said. ‘COVID is more contagious than ever and it continues to spread. Even one hospitalization, only one life lost, is one too many.’ 

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