For the man who represented the United States in Tokyo from 2017 to 2019, Friday's visit to the U.S. capital by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is an affirmation of two years of hard work.
It is not often that U.S. Republicans and Democrats agree about much these days, but former Ambassador William Hagerty, who came home to launch a successful bid for a Senate seat from his home state of Tennessee, is quick to praise President Joe Biden for arranging the White House meeting.
"I'm delighted to see Prime Minister Suga come to the very first face-to-face summit that our new President Biden is holding," the newly minted Republican senator told VOA in an interview this week.
The fact that Biden, like former President Donald Trump before him, chose to meet the prime minister of Japan at the outset of his presidency shows continuity in U.S. strategic priorities, Hagerty said.
"It underscores the importance of the strategic alliance that we hold with Japan," he said. "It also underscores the importance of that region of the world not only to America, but to global security."
Hagerty stressed the lasting importance of U.S. efforts after World War II to help lift Japan from ruins to the top ranks of democratic governance and prosperity.
"After World War II, an unprecedented effort took place. General [Douglas] MacArthur and a team moved to Japan; they oversaw a reconstruction of the Japanese economy. I even found notes from General MacArthur because I lived in the same house that he did while he was there," Hagerty said.
He said those notes revealed extensive efforts, including tireless outreach by the United States to persuade American industries to buy Japanese products in order to lift the Japanese economy.