However, Biden’s go to to kick-off the Olympic Games in assist of America’s athletes comes amid rising Covid-19 numbers in Japan, and particularly at the Games. As of Tuesday, the variety of circumstances linked to the Tokyo Games had exceeded 70, regardless of stringent tips comparable to a number of checks, social distancing necessities and mask-wearing.

The 2020 Summer Games — already delayed a 12 months due to Covid-19 — are set to begin on Friday as the circumstances gasoline security considerations.

“There’s been no change, (Jill Biden is) still planning on attending the games,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki informed reporters Tuesday, including, “The President, the first lady felt it was important to have the delegation lead at the highest level. So, she is looking forward to continuing her travels.”

Biden has a packed schedule for Japan, which incorporates not solely the Olympic Games, however at the very least two diplomatic occasions.

After touchdown in Tokyo on Thursday afternoon at Yokota Air Force Base, the first woman will spend the night at dinner at Akasaka Palace with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his spouse, Mariko Suga, Biden’s press secretary Michael LaRosa informed NCS. The following day, Biden may have a bilateral occasion with Mariko Suga, additionally at the palace, prior to collaborating in a get-together with members of Team USA. The meet-and-greet will likely be held just about, per LaRosa.

Also on Friday, the first woman may have an viewers with Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

Biden will then attend the Olympics opening ceremony at Olympic Stadium. The ceremony will likely be scaled-back due to Covid-19 precautions, organizers have mentioned, although particulars of simply how a lot it should change from its conventional pomp and circumstance stay sketchy simply days out. There will likely be flag-bearers from every of the collaborating international locations, and a smattering of VIPs and dignitaries in the stands, the first woman included.

Biden’s Saturday in Tokyo consists of one non-athletic occasion. She will dedicate a room in the Chief of Mission Residence to Irene Hirano Inouye and Daniel Inouye, the late senator and Medal of Honor recipient from Hawaii.

A viewing occasion of the USA vs. Mexico softball recreation with US Embassy officers and their households follows, earlier than Biden heads to “several Olympic events before departing Tokyo,” in accordance to a launch from the East Wing.

The extra contagious Delta variant of Covid-19 now makes up 83% of sequenced samples in the United States, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky mentioned Tuesday at a Senate committee listening to on Capitol Hill.

“This is a dramatic increase, up from 50% for the week of July 3,” she mentioned.

Globally, the Delta variant stays a well being fear, particularly amongst the unvaccinated. Covid vaccines have confirmed efficient towards contracting the Delta variant, and in stopping extreme illness and hospitalization if contracted.

In Japan, solely 22.4% of the inhabitants absolutely vaccinated, according to NCS’s global vaccine tracker.

As a results of the low numbers of vaccinated residents, and in an effort to management what could possibly be a catastrophic outbreak, there will likely be no spectators in the stands, and the entirety of the Olympics will happen beneath the nation’s imposed coronavirus state of emergency, already in place.

This is not going to be Biden’s first time at the Olympics in assist of America’s athletes. As second woman in 2010, she and then-Vice President Joe Biden attended the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada.

Though the primary focus of her journey stays Japan and the Olympics, Biden is taking the alternative to go to two states on her method in and out of the nation, a part of her ongoing journey to a number of elements of the United States to encourage Covid-19 vaccinations.

Prior to arrival in Japan, the first woman will cease in Alaska, the place she’s going to greet army and veteran households upon touchdown at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Afterward, she’ll head the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage for a vaccine occasion.

On her method again to Washington from Japan, Biden has tacked on a cease in Honolulu, Hawaii, the place she’s going to once more take part in an occasion centered on the significance of getting the Covid vaccine.

In current weeks, Biden has traveled to greater than 10 states, every time collaborating in actions targeting boosting lagging vaccination numbers as the nation traits in direction of stagnancy, and case numbers as soon as once more are on the rise.

Psaki mentioned Tuesday the first woman is absolutely conscious of the points dealing with the video games because of Covid, and that she and her workers and delegation will take precautions. “They will be following very strict safety and health protocols limiting engagement with the public, keeping our footprint as small as possible,” mentioned Psaki.

Biden’s deliberate in-person attendance additionally comes as the head of the Tokyo video games on Tuesday made no promise he would not implement an 11th-hour cancellation of the Olympics ought to the Covid-19 case numbers rise exponentially.

“We cannot predict what the epidemic will look like in the future. So as for what to do should there be any surge of positive cases, we’ll discuss accordingly if that happens,” mentioned Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto throughout a information convention in Tokyo.

“At this stage, the coronavirus situation might get worse or better, so we will think about what to do when the situation actually arises,” Muto mentioned.


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