Jill Biden to lead U.S. delegation to Tokyo Games

Biden, wearing a striped dress and white sweater, left Washington on Wednesday morning to start a lengthy journey to Japan. On the way, Biden stopped in Alaska to greet military families and encourage vaccination.

Olympics and Japanese officials have forged ahead with the sports spectacle despite public opposition in the country to hosting huge numbers of athletes, staff and media - more than 11,000 in the athletes' village alone - dozens of whom have already tested positive for COVID-19.

But U.S. President Joe Biden sees the pandemic-postponed Games as a critical moment to show support for a longtime ally and trading partner, who he hopes will support U.S. efforts to check China's rise, aides said.

Biden will arrive in Tokyo on Thursday afternoon before having dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his wife Mariko Suga at Akasaka Palace, according to her spokesman.

The Olympics trip is the first lady's first solo adventure abroad and will include three days on the ground in Japan.

She plans to attend the opening ceremony on Friday (July 23), as well as meet with Team USA athletes, U.S. foreign service officers and Japanese Emperor Naruhito.

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