Japanese prime ministers are establishing a tradition of being the first to meet a newly elected United States president. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the first head of government to be received by Mr Donald Trump, very soon after the latter won the 2016 US presidential election. And now it was the turn of Mr Yoshihide Suga, Mr Abe’s successor, to be the first official state guest received in the White House by President Joe Biden.
But in many respects, the latest US-Japan summit is far more consequential. For, while the first Abe-Trump encounter took place at Mr Abe’s initiative well before then US President-elect Trump even stepped into the White House, the latest Suga-Biden summit took place after careful preparation and coordination by both sides and is the result of a clear and well-stated set of policy objectives.