Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and U.S. President Joe Biden agreed in a meeting Friday to strengthen the security alliance between their countries and continue efforts to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific region, Japanese officials said.

The two met in Washington on the sidelines of the first in-person leaders' summit among the "Quad," a group of countries also including Australia and India.

Combined photo shows U.S. President Joe Biden (L, Getty/Kyodo) and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. (Kyodo) 

"We were able to further strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance and deepen ties between our countries under my relationship of trust with President Biden," Suga told reporters afterward.

The meeting was their third face-to-face since Biden took office in January, and is expected to be the last before Suga steps down as prime minister in October. They previously met in April in Washington and in June in Britain on the sidelines of a Group of Seven summit.

Suga told reporters he hopes his successor, who will effectively be chosen in a ruling party leadership election next week, will "proactively implement foreign policy with a steadfast strategy that contributes to the peace and safety of the world."

During the Quad summit, Suga thanked Biden for the United States lifting import restrictions on some Japanese food products imposed in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

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