Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Friday he plans to visit Washington in the first half of April for talks with President Joe Biden, a mission he said is intended to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance and affirm close coordination over the coronavirus pandemic and an increasingly assertive China.

If all goes as planned, Suga will become the first foreign leader to meet with Biden in person since the Democrat captured the White House in January.

"I would like to make full use of this opportunity to further strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance," he said at a meeting of the government and the ruling coalition.