BIDEN SUPPORT OF TOKYO OLYMPICS NOT GUARANTEE OF ATTENDANCE, U.S. DELEGATION
While U.S. President Joe Biden has expressed support towards efforts by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to hold the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics amid the pandemic, their talks in Washington gave no clear indication about Biden's attendance at the rescheduled games, Kyodo News reported.
Biden backed Suga's "efforts to hold a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer" in a joint statement released after their talks.
"I told the president about my determination to realize the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer as a symbol of global unity," Suga said during a joint press conference held at the White House after the summit.
Asked about whether the United States has promised to send athletes to the games, however, Suga only reiterated that Biden has supported his determination.
The White House also remained could not confirm whether Biden plans to actually attend the games.
"I don't have any plans to announce as it relates to travel or any international travel," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a regular press conference held prior to the talks between Biden and Suga.
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, meanwhile, expressed her support when Suga conveyed Japan's resolve to hold the Olympics this summer to demonstrate "world unity," according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry's press release on its meeting.
Psaki said the White House understands "the careful considerations" the Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee are weighing as they prepare for the global sporting event.
She emphasized the Japanese government has made public health the "central priority" as the host of the games, and that it has assured it will keep in close contact with Washington as the plan develops.
Suga said in March that he planned to invite Biden to the Olympics, due to open on July 23 following a one-year postponement from the original schedule due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.