“That includes making sure we invest in and protect the technologies that will maintain and sharpen our competitive edge, and that those technologies are governed by shared democratic norms that we both share – norms set by democracies, not autocracies.”
Describing the US as Japan’s “best friend”, Prime Minister Suga said the importance of the relationship had “reached new heights” because of the shifting power dynamics in the Asia-Pacific.
“We also had serious talks on China’s influence over the peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific and the world at large,” he said.
“We agreed to oppose any attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion in the East and South China Seas, and intimidation of others in the region.”
Suga said Japan and the US would work closely with Australia and India – the other member of the “Quad” grouping – to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Suga was asked by reporters whether Japan would cancel the Olympic Games, scheduled to be held in Tokyo in July, given the concerns among health experts that the games could become a coronavirus “superspreader” event.
“I told the president about my determination to realise the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer as a symbol of the global unity,” Suga said.
“President Biden once again expressed his support for this determination.”
The day in Washington was otherwise dominated by confusion about Biden’s position on refugee resettlement, after it emerged that his administration planned to keep the US resettlement cap at 15,000 for this fiscal year rather than increasing it to 62,500 as originally promised.
The move sparked an immediate backlash from Democrats in Congress.
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal accused the White House of “caving to the politics of fear” while Democratic Senator Dick Durbin called the decision “unacceptable”.
Democratic congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said it was “unacceptable and unconscionable that the Biden administration is not immediately repealing Donald Trump’s harmful, xenophobic, and racist refugee cap that cruelly restricts refugee admissions to a historically low level”.
The White House later put out a statement saying that Biden would increase the refugee cap this fiscal year but did not announce a new figure of how many refugees would be resettled.
Matthew Knott is North America correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.