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US First Lady to travel to Japan for Olympics

July 13, 2021 19:21 IST
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US First Lady Jill Biden

IMAGE: US First Lady Jill Biden. Photograph: Jim Watson/Reuters

First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Tokyo for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Summer Games on July 23, the White House said on Tuesday, leading a delegation that will not include her husband, US President Joe Biden.

It will be her first solo trip abroad as first lady.  Jill Biden was vaccinated in January, before her husband became president.

 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters previously that a team had been sent to Tokyo to assess the feasibility of Jill Biden's visit. Last week, she said that despite the increase in coronavirus cases, the president still supports US athletes traveling there for the competition.

Previous First Ladies have also travelled to the Olympic Games -- Hillary Clinton traveled to the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Games and the 1996 Atlanta Games, Laura Bush went to Turin Winter Games in 2006 and later accompanied President George W Bush to the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Michelle Obama led a delegation to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Amid flare-ups of the coronavirus pandemic, officials have banned spectators from attending almost all Olympics events and Tokyo has declared a state of emergency lasting until Aug. 22, well after the games close on August 8.

The Olympics, already delayed a year because of COVID-19, are due to run from July 23 to August 8.

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