• Kyodo

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First lady Jill Biden will travel to Japan to attend the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on July 23, the White House announced Tuesday, making it the first time since 2012 that the wife of a U.S. president will lead the U.S. delegation to such events.

President Joe Biden had acknowledged late last month that arrangements were underway for Jill Biden to travel to Japan for the global sporting event amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, however, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. government was still “assessing the feasibility” of the trip. Her remarks came after the Japanese government decided to put Tokyo under another state of emergency until Aug. 22, amid rising concern the games could trigger a further surge in infections.

The Tokyo Olympics were postponed last year for 12 months due to the pandemic.

At the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, then-U.S. Vice President Mike Pence attended the opening event. At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, then Secretary of State John Kerry led the U.S. delegation to the opening ceremony.

As for the 2012 games in London, then-first lady Michelle Obama represented the U.S. delegation.

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