U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono and Hawaii Gov. David Ige will dine with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House tonight along with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

It’s part of a series of events scheduled in honor of Abe’s visit to the U.S. The prime minister will also address a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday in which he will be escorted by Hirono to the House floor.

Gubernatorial candidate David Ige and running mate Shan Tsutsui with Mazie Hirono after third print out at Democratic Party of Hawaii's Democratic Coordinated Election Night Celebration held at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.  4 November 2014. photograph by Cory Lum

Gov. David Ige, center, and U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, right, will attend a White House dinner in honor of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Corey Lum/Civil Beat

Both Hirono and Ige, who is of Okinawan descent, issued press releases about their attendance at Tuesday’s dinner, each saying it was an honor to be invited.

Hirono, who was born in Japan and is the first Asian-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate, also said it’s important to maintain a strong relationship with Japan as the U.S. moves to rebalance its efforts in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Japan is one of our closest allies and at a time when we have so much instability elsewhere in the world, it is important to maintain stability in the Asia-Pacific,” Hirono said in a statement.

“Our countries have much to offer one another and we must focus on continuing our enduring relationship and strengthening that relationship to meet our shared challenges.”

UPDATE: U.S. Rep. Mark Takai, a Japanese-American, will also serve on the Abe escort committee with Hirono. Abe is scheduled to address Congress on Wednesday at 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.



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