Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Abe of Japan Before Bilateral Meeting
10:33 A.M. JST
PRIME MINISTER ABE: (As interpreted.) On behalf of the government and the people of Japan, I would like to sincerely welcome President Obama as our state guest.
At the outset, I would like to once again express my heartfelt gratitude for the assistance from the United States in the aftermath of the great East Japan earthquake. More than 20,000 servicemembers of the U.S. forces participated in Operation Tomodachi. And as a matter of fact, Japanese people were greatly encouraged and helped by the assistance extended from the government and the people of the United States. And I am truly grateful for that.
Japan has been walking on the path of peace based on its peaceful orientation in a consistent manner for the past 70 years after the Second World War. Japan and the United States share fundamental values such as freedom, democracy and fundamental human rights, and also we share strategic interests. And the alliance between these two nations is indispensable and irreplaceable as the foundation for a peaceful and prosperous Asia Pacific region.
Your visit to Asia this time is a testament to the U.S. revised policy which attaches importance to this region. This greatly contributes to regional peace and prosperity, and Japan strongly supports and also certainly welcomes this.
My administration intends to contribute to regional peace and prosperity more practically than ever, in line with the policy of what I call practical contribution to peace based on the principle on international cooperation. And together with the United States, Japan would like to realize our leading role of the alliance in ensuring a peaceful and prosperous Asia Pacific.
Today, at this meeting, I look forward to having exchanges with you on how the alliance should look like in the future, based on the cooperation we have had so far.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, let me begin by thanking you, Mr. Prime Minister, and your delegation, as well as the Japanese people for the incredibly gracious hospitality that you’ve provided us so far during this visit.
As you indicated, the U.S.-Japan alliance is the foundation for not only our security in the Asia Pacific region but also for the region as a whole. And we have continued to strengthen it. We are looking at a whole range of issues that are challenging at this time, including the threats posed by North Korea and the nuclearization that’s been taking place in that country. But because of the strong cooperation between our countries I am confident that we will continue to make progress in the future.
Of course, the bonds between our countries are not restricted to a military alliance. We represent two of the three largest economies in the world, and we have the opportunity by working together to help shape an open and innovative and dynamic economy throughout the Asia Pacific region.
Our shared democratic values means that we have to work together in multilateral settings to deal with regional hotspots around the globe but also to try to make sure that we are creating a strong set of rules that govern the international order. And the strong people-to-people bonds that we have and the educational and scientific and cultural exchanges that we have means that our friendship and alliance I'm confident will continue for generations to come.
So I look forward to very productive meetings today. And I want to once again thank you for your hospitality. As you said, my visit here I think once again represents my deep belief that a strong U.S.-Japan relationship is not only good for our countries but good for the world.
10:44 A.M. JST