First Lady Jill Biden will meet Japan's prime minister, emperor during Tokyo Olympics trip

·3 min read

Jill Biden is set to arrive in Tokyo on Thursday before heading the U.S. delegation at the opening ceremony of the Olympics, her office announced Wednesday.

The event will be much more quiet than it has been in years past after it was announced fans would not be allowed to attend the games after the capital of Japan declared a state of emergency amid rising COVID-19 infections.

But the first lady has a packed schedule for her trip to Tokyo, which is sandwiched between visits to Alaska and Hawaii to meet with military and veteran families and encourage COVID-19 vaccination.

While in Tokyo, she'll head the U.S. delegation at the opening ceremony on Friday, host a virtual get-together with members of Team USA, host a watch party for the U.S. vs. Mexico softball game with foreign service officers and their families at the U.S. Embassy, and attend several Olympic events.

Biden will also join several Japanese politicians and officials, including a meeting with Emperor Naruhito and dinner with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his wife, Mariko Suga.

More: Tokyo Olympics to be held without fans after new COVID-19 state of emergency declared

First lady Jill Biden will take flight to attend the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony.
First lady Jill Biden will take flight to attend the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday in a press briefing the White House was "monitoring the situation very closely" regarding rising COVID-19 cases and is following strict health and safety protocols.

"I would also note that the president and the first lady felt it was important to have the delegation led at the highest level," Psaki added. "So she is looking forward to continuing her travel."

This will not be Biden's first time at the Olympics. As second lady, she and her husband, then Vice President Joe Biden, led the U.S. delegation during the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver, alongside then Barack Obama administration advisor Valerie Jarrett and U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson.

President Joe Biden "is not planning to attend the Games" this year, Psaki announced during a June 28 briefing. "He will certainly be rooting for the athletes."

Biden on Olympics: Joe Biden 'proud' of way Sha'Carri Richardson handled positive marijuana test, but 'rules are rules'

In the past, U.S. delegations for the Olympic games have been made up of former gold medalists as well as members of presidential administrations. Former President George W. Bush was the last sitting president to attend the Games during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Before adding the Olympics to her FLOTUS schedule, Biden has been busy.

Last week, "Sesame Street" released a video featuring the first lady for its new collection of resources launched by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind "Sesame Street." In the video, she talks to Mexican-American Muppet Rosita with a message about supporting military families and treating everyone with kindness and fairness.

Prior to appearing on the popular children's show, the first lady appeared on the cover of Vogue magazine to discuss her adjustment to White House living.

Tokyo Olympics: When do the 2021 Olympics start? What new events will there be in Tokyo? Here's what you need to know about Summer Olympics

The Tokyo Games will feature 339 events across 33 sports with six new sports making their debut: Karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing. The games begin July 23 with the opening ceremony and conclude August 8.

Contributing: Maria Puente, Tom Schad, Katie Wadington

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jill Biden Olympics trip: opening ceremony, meet Japanese politicians