Japanese PM Vows US-Japan Alliance to Boldly Go Beyond Star Trek’s Frontier


In a scene steeped in the kind of congenial urgency you might expect from influential people painstakingly reassessing the global chessboard, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida artfully wove levity and gravitas in his speech at Wednesday’s state dinner. Drawing upon a piece of beloved American pop culture, he quoted from the original “Star Trek” series, vowing that the indomitable bond between his nation and the United States will “boldly go where no one has gone before.”

“To our voyage to the frontier of the Japan-U.S. relationship, let us bravely traverse,” Kishida proclaimed, his words echoing the instantly recognizable opening monologue of the epic science fiction series, as guests savored the camaraderie filling the opulent halls of the White House.

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Mutual warmth punctuated exchanges between Kishida and President Joe Biden, their speeches undeniably laying emphasis on the decades-old alliance between Japan and the United States. High-profile figures spanning politics, sports, and business, an assemblage that included a former American president, reveled in this display of consolidation against a backdrop of global challenges. The occasion was a tangible affirmation of a friendship transcending generations, from Biden, 81, and Kishida, 66.

Reflecting on the bittersweet but transformative journey from being World War II adversaries to allies that shared common interests, Biden proclaimed, “We both remember the choices that were made to forge a friendship. We both remember the hard work, what it has done to find healing.”

In an evening buzzing with diplomatic gusto, prominent guests including Bill and Hillary Clinton lent their prestige to the event. The former president was visibly delighted at being back in familiar environs, his gaze appreciating a portrait of his wife in her first lady glory.

Gossip and business merged as the guests clad in dazzling spring colors, and shimmering gowns rubbed shoulders, from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson’s astronomical tidbits about eclipse views in Ohio to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’s optimistic assessment of Biden’s election prospects. However, nestled among the cheerful banter was a sobering note acknowledging the less than heartening news of inflation from Washington that day.

Despite the somber touch of economic concerns, the state dinner vibrated with the underlying spirit of celebrating a time-honored international alliance. The Kishidas, including Japan’s First Lady Yuko resplendent in a flowing royal blue gown, were welcomed by the Bidens on the North Portico on a balmy spring evening. Inside, an immersive ‘spring garden’ ambiance pervaded the State Floor, replete with stunning imagery transforming it into a koi pond, the fish symbolizing friendship, peace, and luck in Japanese culture, as Jill Biden explained.

Music from Paul Simon intermingling with the laughter, clinking of glasses, animated guests ranging from Naomi, Biden’s granddaughter, business tycoons like JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, to labor luminaries United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain and United Steelworkers President David McCall. It was a spectrum that talked volumes about the fabric of U.S-Japan relations.

As the evening continued, gastronomic delights boasting spring’s bounty from Japan and the U.S graced the dinner tables. Delicious waves of house-cured salmon inspired by a California roll, succulent rib eye steak paired with shishito pepper butter, fava beans, mushrooms, and onions, and a dessert of salted caramel pistachio cake with matcha ganache and cherry ice cream tantalized the palate.

The coda of the event had Jill Biden’s favorite artist, Paul Simon, strumming two of his iconic hits. His legendary music career, despite spanning six long decades, still effortlessly harmonized the emotions in the room, a testament to the timeless appeal of profound friendships – whether they were born on the global political platform or sprouted from the heartwarming realms of music. That evening, Kishida became the fifth world leader to experience the honor of a state dinner under Biden’s presidency, joining the ranks of his counterparts from France, South Korea, India, and Australia.