Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, taking control of a nation wracked by a deadly pandemic, persistent unemployment and burgeoning social unrest — and capping the most acrimonious transfer of power in modern American history.

Biden, 78, took the oath of office shortly before noon on the steps of the U.S. Capitol — the very spot overrun two weeks ago by Donald Trump loyalists, who waged a deadly attack seeking to block the Democrat’s ascent to the presidency.

A smaller, more restrained protest took place in Tokyo on Wednesday, as a band of Japanese Trump fans shouted support for the outgoing U.S. president hours before Biden was sworn in. “We all chanted together so that our voice can fly over the Pacific Ocean and reach the U.S.,” said organizer Naota Kobayashi.

President Biden inauguration speech in full | BBC NEWS
President Biden inauguration speech in full | BBC NEWS

Trump left office with his domestic policies having shaken the U.S. to its core and some historians ranking him among the most divisive leaders to ever set foot in the Oval Office. But his policies toward Asia, or what the Trump White House termed the Indo-Pacific, may ultimately tell a different story, writes Jesse Johnson.

While many of these policies were erratic, bore no fruit or appeared to severely damage partnerships, some of the fundamentals are expected to survive Trump’s departure as holdovers that could be expanded on and refined by Biden.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will be anxious to meet the new boss of Japan’s closest ally and suss out Biden’s stance on issues such as China and North Korea. But a U.S. visit is unlikely before spring, Tokyo sources say, as the new president deals with the runaway pandemic back home and the aftermath of the Capitol riot.