Biden to join event for empowering women with Kennedy in Japan

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will engage in events aimed at empowering women in the economy when he visits Japan next week along with meetings with the country's leaders, a U.S. government official said Wednesday.

Biden will be joined by new U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy for "an event to highlight the role of women in the Japanese economy" during his visit to Japan starting Monday, the official told reporters.

Biden will also visit a local technology company that is owned and run by a woman entrepreneur and host a roundtable discussion to explore the challenges faced by women when they enter and remain in the workplace, the official said.

The vice president will tour Japan as the governments of both countries are working on realizing a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama to Japan in April next year.

In Tokyo, Biden will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Finance Minister Taro Aso, the official said. They are expected to discuss bilateral and regional issues such as China's recent bid to expand its airborne military presence over the East China Sea.

Abe and Biden are expected to reaffirm bilateral alliance between Japan and the United States to deal with the announcement by China of an air defense identification zone that overlaps Japan's and covers the Japan-administered Senkaku group of islets claimed by China, a Japanese official indicated earlier.

Another U.S. official said Biden and the Japanese leaders will discuss a goal of concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement and U.S. calls for more access to the Japanese auto and agricultural markets.

Meanwhile the Office of U.S. Trade Representative said Michael Froman, the country's trade chief, will visit Japan one day before Biden's arrival and discuss remaining obstacles to signing the U.S,-led trade pact with relevant Japanese officials.

After Japan, Froman will also visit Vietnam on Monday and Malaysia on Tuesday ahead of a Dec. 7-10 ministerial meeting on TPP in Singapore, the USTR said.