Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida secured a $2.9 billion investment in his country from U.S. tech giant Microsoft Corp. in the area of artificial intelligence, as he started off on Tuesday a series of engagements during his official visit to Washington.

During a meeting with Kishida in the U.S. capital, Microsoft President Brad Smith revealed the company's largest-ever investment in the Asian country, which includes measures to upgrade its data centers that are essential for AI use and to bolster cloud computing.

Kishida arrived in Washington on Monday for the first state visit by a Japanese leader in nine years, with the two countries deepening economic and security relations amid China's growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (2nd from L) and Microsoft Corp. President Brad Smith (2nd from R) meet in Washington on April 9, 2024. (Pool photo)(Kyodo)

He told Smith it is important for Japanese companies to work with global firms such as Microsoft, expressing hope that the U.S. company will continue to help boost the development of AI in the Asian nation, the Japanese government said.

Microsoft is planning to open a research base in Tokyo, its first in Japan, in a bid to promote research in the fields of AI and robotics, company sources said, adding it will improve equipment at its facilities in the country by introducing advanced semiconductors.

Later Tuesday, Kishida told business leaders at an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that Tokyo and Washington can lead the international community toward stability and prosperity.

Kishida added Japan will join hands with the United States to accelerate global economic growth in critical technologies, including semiconductors, AI, quantum computing and clean energy, by expanding mutual investment.

On Tuesday morning, Kishida laid a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery that honors unidentified soldiers who died in war, while the national anthems of both Japan and the United States were played.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (2nd from R) visits Arlington National Cemetery near Washington on April 9, 2024. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The national flags of the two countries were on display in front of the White House in celebration of Kishida's visit to the United States.

During his stay in Washington, Kishida is scheduled to hold a summit with U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday and to address a joint session of the Congress the following day, according to Japanese government officials.

Kishida, who is slated to return to Tokyo on Sunday, and Biden are expected to reaffirm bilateral cooperation in various areas ranging from security and state-of-the-art technologies to the resilience of supply chains.

On Thursday, Kishida and Biden are set to hold an unprecedented trilateral summit with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., against the backdrop of an increasingly unstable security environment in Asia, the officials said.

Kishida's visit to the United States comes after Nippon Steel Corp., Japan's biggest steelmaker, said last month that it is committed to its $14.1 billion plan to acquire United States Steel Corp., following opposition to the buyout voiced by Biden.

Concern that the move could undermine bilateral ties was shrugged off by U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel, who said Monday, "The United States relationship with Japan is a lot deeper and stronger and more significant than a single commercial deal."

During his trip to the United States, Kishida is planning to visit North Carolina, with Toyota Motor Corp., Japan's largest automaker by volume, constructing a new battery plant in the southeastern state to beef up its electric vehicle line.

Kishida is eager to showcase Toyota's contribution to job creation and investment in the United States, given the possibility that Donald Trump, who has criticized the U.S. trade deficit with Japan, may be reelected as president in November, political experts said.

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