An overwhelming 84 percent of Americans have positive views about Japan, according to a Gallup Inc. survey, as U.S. President Joe Biden hosted Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga for a White House meeting Friday.
"For Biden, Americans' broad, long-standing positive view of Japan primes the US public to view the summit positively", the USA analytics firm said, referring to Biden's first in-person talks with a foreign leader since taking office in January. "We're going to work together to prove that democracies can still compete and win in the 21st century". Both countries, however, declared they planned to work with China "on areas of common interest".
Japan considers China's growing military activity as well as its broad territorial claims to be a security threat.
The Biden administration calls managing USA policies toward China and the Indo-Pacific the primary challenge for the United States.
Japan, which depends on unfettered shipping through the Strait of Taiwan separating China and the island, has urged the U.S.to take a stronger position condemning China's recent provocative military flights across the waters.
The two leaders also discussed the Summer Olympics, which are scheduled for later this year in Tokyo.More news: Chicago police video shows fatal shooting of boy
"Japan and the United States are both deeply invested in innovation and looking to the future", Biden said.
Biden said they agreed to enhance their support for global vaccination efforts through the ACT accelerator and COVID-19 facility.
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.
For Suga, the summit offers the opportunity to "showcase his rapport with Biden, who may be viewed more positively by the Japanese people than Trump was", the company said, in reference to Biden's predecessor Donald Trump.
Other issues like climate change, fight against coronavirus pandemic and North Korea did appear in their talks on Friday, which was the first for Biden with a foreign leader as the president of the United States.
"It does not look exactly like the typical bilateral meetings that you have attended in the past and we look forward to returning to normal on many fronts but certainly this one as well", Psaki said.More news: United States announces sanctions against Russian Federation and expels 10 diplomats
China also has taken note of the Biden administration's support for reviving a loose four-country coalition with Japan, India and Australia, known as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad.
The White House sent a signal to the meeting of the importance of the US relationship with Japan, which will also attend Biden's virtual climate change summit next week. That came during a visit last month by Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, which was the Biden administration's highest-level face-to-face meeting at the time. Suga, who is seeking to showcase Japan's security commitments with the United States, Japan's only treaty ally, told reporters before his talks with Biden that the trip was meant to "reaffirm the new and tight bond between us" as the USA and Japan deal with challenges in the region.
"The United States is Japan's best friend", Suga said in prepared remarks.
Suga said democracy, human rights and other shared values were "the very foundation of prosperity of the region and the globe".
"We also had serious talks about China's influence on the peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific and the world at large".More news: United States expels Russian diplomats imposes new round of sanctions