TOKYO >> First lady Jill Biden heaped praise on U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye on Friday as she dedicated a room in the U.S. ambassador’s residence to the Hawaii political icon and his wife, Irene.
“This moment really is very special to me,” Biden said. “My husband truly loved Danny Inouye.”
She said the bedroom, located on the second floor of what is formally referred to as the Chief of Mission Residence, was being dedicated to the late couple “for their remarkable contributions to the United States and Japan.”
“Irene dedicated her life lifting up women, especially those of Japanese descent. And not just by words, but by action,” Biden said, adding that the senator’s wife “lifted Asian American women out of what she called ‘invisibility.’”
“She was a pretty special woman,” Biden added.
The first lady noted Daniel Inouye’s World War II service in the U.S. Army’s highly decorated 442nd Regimental Combat Team and that he was one of the first U.S. House members to represent Hawaii. Inouye lost his right arm in combat and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and other military honors.
The senator died in 2012 and his wife in 2020.
“He was a mentor to my husband Joe, but more importantly he was a true friend whose kindness really knows no bounds,” Biden said.
“If at the end of life, you have five friends that you can count … you’re really a lucky person,” the first lady continued.
“I think that Danny Inouye, I know Danny Inouye, would be one of them,” she said of her husband’s relationship with the late senator.
“So on behalf of the president it is my pleasure to dedicate this room.”
Following the dedication ceremony, which took place around noon Saturday, Japan time, Biden listened as the Inouyes’ children — Jennifer Hirano and Ken Inouye — joined the event virtually, talked about their late parents.
Ken Inouye will be greeting the first lady when she arrives in Honolulu Saturday.
This story was compiled by Star-Advertiser staff based on reporting by Nikki Schwab, senior U.S. political reporter for the Daily Mail, who is a pool reporter for first lady Jill Biden’s Japan trip.