Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will address a joint session of the U.S. Congress on April 11 when he travels to Washington for an official visit, congressional leaders said Monday.

The leaders, including House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson, said in a statement that Kishida's visit "symbolizes both nations' commitment to peace and prosperity and to an international community that promotes democracy, security and stability."

Kishida's address will be the first by a Japanese leader in nine years. On April 10, he is scheduled to hold talks with President Joe Biden and attend a state dinner.

During the visit, Kishida is expected to underscore that Japan will reinforce its long-standing alliance with the United States in the face of China's assertive actions and North Korea's weapons development.

Kishida and Biden will likely agree on the need to deepen bilateral cooperation in areas such as economic security, outer space and emerging technologies, while also enhancing collaboration trilaterally with South Korea and multilaterally with like-minded partners.

"Now more than ever, we must speak out against tyranny and continue our pursuit of freedom and democracy worldwide," Johnson said in the statement. "I am pleased to join my colleagues in extending this invitation."

The bipartisan leaders said in a letter sent to Kishida that his address to the session "would pave the way for increased collaboration in the years to come, both in the Indo-Pacific and around the world." In Tokyo on Tuesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi said at a regular press conference that Kishida's upcoming speech "will be extremely significant in further deepening close cooperation between Japan and the United States and demonstrating the solid bilateral alliance to the world."

The last Japanese prime minister to make such an address was Shinzo Abe in 2015, during the administration of President Barack Obama.

Abe, who was killed by a gunman during campaigning in 2022, visited the United States as a state guest ahead of the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II.

In his speech to the U.S. Congress, Abe expressed "deep remorse" for Japan's wartime actions and underscored that the relationship of the two countries stands as a model of postwar reconciliation.

Kishida represents a constituency in Hiroshima and attention will focus on whether he says anything about his life's work for a world without nuclear weapons when he appears in the legislature.

Abe made no reference to the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the final stage of World War II, apparently because Japan is protected by the U.S. nuclear umbrella.