Jul 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Jill Biden heading to Olympics, Alaska, Hawaii

Joe and Jill Biden walk hand in hand
President Biden and first lady Jill Biden. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

First lady Jill Biden is embarking on a solo Pacific tour Wednesday, leading the U.S. delegation to the Olympics in Tokyo between domestic stops in Alaska and Hawaii.

Why it matters: This is Biden's first solo trip abroad as first lady. She has had an aggressive domestic travel schedule in support of her husband's administration.

  • The first lady's show of support for U.S. athletes comes after Japanese officials said the Games will be held without spectators due to a COVID-19 state of emergency in Tokyo. The head of the Tokyo Games said Tuesday they may still be cancelled.
  • President Biden will not be attending the Olympics.

Zoom in: The first lady's stops in Alaska and Hawaii are part of a continued effort by the Biden administration to encourage Americans to get vaccinated.

  • Biden will visit Alaska first on Wednesday, where she will greet military and veteran families before visiting the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage.
  • The first lady will head to Honolulu after Tokyo, where she will visit a vaccination clinic at a local high school.
  • Both points are common refueling destinations for U.S. government aircraft.

Jill Biden will be in Japan for three days beginning Thursday. Her schedule includes dinner with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his wife at Akasaka Palace, and a meeting with Japan's Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace.

  • Biden will attend the opening ceremonies at the Olympic Stadium on Friday evening while "following strict protocols and precautions" set by the White House COVID team, the Japanese government and the Olympics, her office said.
  • On Saturday, she will dedicate a room in the chief of mission residence in Japan to the late founding president of the U.S.-Japan Council Irene Hirano Inouye, and her husband, the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye.
  • Later, she'll host a U.S. vs. Mexico softball watch party with Foreign Service officers and their families at the U.S. Embassy.
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