Japan PM's wife to visit White House in April to meet Jill Biden - TBS

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his wife Yuko Kishida welcome U.S. President Joe Biden for a private dinner at Happo-en in Tokyo, Japan May 23, 2022. Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool via REUTERS

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's wife, Yuko Kishida, is planning to visit to Washington in April to meet U.S. first lady Jill Biden, broadcaster TBS reported on Wednesday, citing Japanese government sources.

Yuko accompanied her husband to Washington in January but she was not able to meet Jill Biden then because the U.S. first lady was undergoing medical treatment.

TBS also said that if scheduling permitted, Yuko Kishida might also meet Joe Biden on her mid-April visit.

It is highly unusual for a Japanese prime minister's wife to make an overseas trip on her own. Most political wives tend to keep a low profile.

One exception was the wife of former prime minister Shinzo Abe, Akie Abe, who frequently accompanied him on trips. Shinzo Abe was assassinated in Japan last year.

Akie Abe was also known for espousing progressive causes.

She took part in an LGBTQ rights parade, opposed nuclear power, and even visited protesters opposing the development of a U.S. military facility in the Okinawa region - all things that helped soften her husband's hawkish image.

But her prominence also led to difficulties when she got caught up in a scandal about the murky sale of some land to a nationalist school to which she had ties.

(Reporting by Kantaro Komiya and Elaine Lies; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Robert Birsel)

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