Biden arrives at Marine base in Japan, meets with Kishida ahead of G-7 summit
Stars and Stripes May 18, 2023
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan — President Joe Biden arrived Thursday afternoon aboard Air Force One at this base south of Hiroshima to attend a summit of the world’s leading industrial nations this weekend.
The president stepped from Air Force One onto the tarmac, where he was met by MCAS Iwakuni commander Col. Richard Rusnok and Sgt. Maj. Adam Gharati. Alongside them were U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel; Rear Adm. Takuhiro Hiragi, commander of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Fleet Air Wing 31; and Iwakuni city Mayor Yoshihiko Fukuda.
Biden’s visit began with a face-to-face meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, whose home city of Hiroshima is the host for the Group of Seven summit this year. The city, where the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb in World War II, is the backdrop for discussions expected to include the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“There will be discussions about the battlefield,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said aboard Air Force One, according to The Associated Press on Thursday. He said the G-7 leaders would work to seal off any loopholes in sanctions so their effect can be maximized, according to AP.
After landing at MCAS Iwakuni, Biden met with approximately 300 service members from the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. The president then left the base in the Marine One helicopter bound for Hiroshima and his brief meeting with Kishida.
Biden last traveled to Japan one year ago, when he landed at Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo in the midst of a festival attended by thousands of Americans and Japanese visitors.
During that swing through Asia, the president met with Kishida, as well as the leaders of India, South Korea and Australia.
The G-7 summit is an international forum held annually for the leaders of the member states France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada.
Biden cut short his trip to this year’s summit by canceling his plans to visit Papa New Guinea and Australia to return to the United States to continue negotiations aimed at raising the federal debt limit.