First Lady Jill Biden Will Travel to Olympic Opening Ceremony in Tokyo

First lady Jill Biden is scheduled to attend the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games on July 23, the White House announced on Tuesday.

President Joe Biden will not be joining his wife for the ceremony, making the Japan excursion her only solo trip abroad as first lady so far.

A state of emergency was declared in Tokyo following a rise in COVID-19 cases. The state of emergency will be in place through August 22, two weeks beyond the scheduled closing date of the Olympics, August 8.

The Japanese government has said that the games, which were postponed last year due to the ongoing pandemic, will be held without crowds of spectators.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki previously told reporters that a team had been deployed to Tokyo to assess the feasibility of the first lady's trip, the Associated Press reports. Psaki also said last week that the president supports U.S. athletes traveling to Japan for the games, despite the recent rise in infections.

Psaki said at the time: "We're well aware of the careful preparations, including the public health measures necessary to protect athletes, staff, and spectators, that the government and international committee has undertaken, which is why, as we said, we support the Games moving forward."

The latest trip will be the first lady's first attendance at the games since she and Biden led the U.S. delegation at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.

Biden joins several other first ladies who have led the U.S. delegation at the games, including former first lady Michelle Obama, who represented the U.S. at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Laura Bush led the delegation at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy.

Hillary Clinton attended the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway as well as the 1996 Summer Games held in Atlanta.

The announcement of the first lady's attendance at the opening ceremony comes as total confirmed COVID-19 cases in Tokyo approach 183,100, as of Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government website warned: "The rate of increase of new positive cases is trending at a high level, and a resurgence in infections is occurring.

"If the movement of people and effects of variants cause the rate of increase to further rise, there will be a higher risk of the virus spreading at a more rapid pace than that of the third wave."

Last month, President Biden confirmed his support for the Tokyo Olympic Games moving forward with "all public health measures necessary to protect athletes, staff and spectators," in a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide at the G7 summit, according to a statement from the White House at the time.

Jill Biden walks off plane in Georgia.
First lady Jill Biden waves as she walks off the plane in Savannah, Georgia on July 8. Biden will attend the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games on July 23. Jim Watson/Pool/AFP via Getty Images