(Reuters) - Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Thursday in San Francisco that he had been invited by U.S. President Joe Biden for a formal state visit to Washington, the first for a Japanese premier in several years.
During his tenure, Biden has largely reserved the ceremonial events, which can span days and involve a formal dinner attended by celebrities at the White House, for partners such as France, South Korea and Australia.
Meetings during the visits are used to advance policy priorities shared by the two countries.
Kishida did not elaborate on the possible timing of the visit in his remarks to media about the invite at the APEC summit in San Francisco. Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated last year, went on a state visit to the United States in 2015.
Kishida's visit could mark one of his last major overseas trips before he contends a leadership election next September, with his popularity flagging due to economic problems and concerns over how Japan will finance a hike in defence spending.
It may also be one of the last state visits to be hosted by Biden as he prepares to contest the 2024 presidential election.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump travelled to Japan on a state visit in 2019, where he was treated to an imperial banquet, front row seats at a sumo tournament and a trip to the country's biggest warship.
(Reporting by John Geddie and Sakura Murakami in Tokyo and Trevor Hunnicutt in San Francisco; editing by Neil Fullick)