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National Archives

Public Papers - 1989 - February

Remarks Following Discussions With Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita of Japan


The President. Mr. Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen, let me begin by expressing once again on behalf of the American people the condolences on the passing of Emperor Showa, a most gentle man of great learning. And I look forward to calling on the new Emperor when I visit Japan later this month.

It has been a pleasure and honor for Barbara and me to welcome you, Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Takeshita, to the White House. You are one of our first official visitors, and this reflects the importance I place on the relations between our two countries, the strength of our nations' ties, and the promise that our relationship holds for the future of the world.

Two weeks ago, here in Washington, the United States conducted a ritual that spoke of both continuity and change. For the 41st time in 200 years, the United States swore in a new President. And in the transition from one President to the next, we Americans reaffirmed the strength of our democracy and our commitment to values on which it was built. Japan and the world can count on the United States to continue to work for peace, democracy, freedom, and justice around the world. The scope of America's vision is global, and we will continue to shoulder the obligations that belong to a global power.

Continuity will also be the mark of relations between the United States and Japan. On occasion, we may have differences, but these are the differences of friends. And in the last 40 years, our two nations have been truly close friends. The peace and prosperity we both enjoy today are among the fruits of that friendship. Simply put, we respect one another. We need one another, and we will continue to work together for the good of our peoples and of all humanity.

During this visit, the Prime Minister and I worked on the continuing business of the friendship between our countries. We confirmed that the treaty of mutual security and cooperation is the foundation of our relationship. I noted the importance of allies assuming greater responsibilities in the cause of peace. The Prime Minister and I agreed that these responsibilities take many forms. In this regard, I applaud Japan's pledge to make further significant increases in Overseas Development Assistance programs.

At the same time, we believe that the most powerful engine for economic development and growth -- in fact, the only engine that works -- is the entrepreneur, large and small. And entrepreneurship is a product not of massive aid packages but of free and open economies that do not carry crushing burdens of taxation and regulation and that maintain the rule of law, including contract and property law.

Along these lines, we agreed on the importance of supporting democracy and sustained growth and reform in the Philippines. Toward this end, we pledge to make every effort to launch the Multilateral Assistance Initiative for the Philippines this year.

The Prime Minister and I reviewed the progress our nations have achieved in bringing our economies into better balance and in further opening our markets to each other's goods and services. We also recognize the need for continued policy efforts in these areas. The Prime Minister reaffirmed Japan's determination to promote strong domestic growth and structural adjustments. And I told him that I am determined to reduce our budget deficit.

In the area of multilateral cooperation, we agreed that we would continue to coordinate policies through established settings, especially the economic summit. We will look forward to the next summit meeting, which will be held in Paris. We also agreed on the importance for continued global prosperity of a successful Uruguay round. And we agreed on the importance of frequent consultation at all levels on economic issues.

All in all, our talks were positive and forthright, befitting close allies. The Prime Minister and I first met some time ago, and this week's meetings have helped us become even better acquainted. We've laid the groundwork for close cooperation, as we deal with the issues and the opportunities of the last decade of the 20th century.

We're glad you came our way, sir.

The Prime Minister. Thank you, Mr. President, for your heartwarming remarks. Mr. President, I wish to convey on behalf of the Japanese people my deepest appreciation to the Government and people of the United States for their expression of sympathy and condolences on the demise of Emperor Showa. The people of Japan are also deeply touched that you and Mrs. Bush will attend the funeral ceremony.

Mr. President, looking back upon the 43 years since the end of the war, I am reminded anew of the friendship and cooperation the American people have consistently extended to us through the years. Mr. President, I am truly grateful that you have so graciously invited us to Washington at this busy time, so soon after your inauguration.

I appreciate the remarks you have just made on the thoughts we shared in our first meeting. Our first meeting was truly promising in opening the perspective into our future. I believe it marked a new start for U.S.-Japan cooperation, which will serve to help ensure peace and prosperity for the world, as we move towards the 21st century. Fortunately, the basis of our cooperative relationship is firm and sound. The Japan-U.S. security arrangement upon which this relationship rests has never been better. The successful solutions we have been able to achieve regarding bilateral economic issues have demonstrated the resilience of our relationship. Thus, through a dialog, issues between our two countries can be resolved.

In sustaining noninflationary growth of the international economy and in reducing external imbalances in our economies, the President and I shared the view that macroeconomic policy coordination is of crucial importance. I stated to the President that the Japanese economy will continue to grow through strong domestic demand, that imports are expected to continue to increase, and that structure adjustment efforts will be further enhanced. The President stated that he will make determined efforts to reduce the budget deficit.

The world faces a number of challenges, but is rich with promises. In your words: The new breeze is blowing. Mr. President, you and I share the conviction that now is the time for Japan and the United States to further strengthen policy coordination and to joint endeavors in order to create a better world. We will consult closely on our policies toward the Soviet Union, which offers new challenges and opportunities for East-West relations. We will work together to ensure peace and prosperity in Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America, and other parts of the world. We will work together to strengthen the free trading system and agree to cooperate closely for the progress of the Uruguay round negotiations.

No nation can substitute the United States as the leader of the democracies around the world. I look to you, Mr. President, for wise and firm leadership, and you will have my full support. For my part, I will continue to pursue my diplomatic goal of Japan contributing more to the world.

Japan and the United States have a number of common tasks ahead. Together we must take those initiatives to solve the many problems facing our world. Our meeting today confirmed that if our two peoples work together, hand in hand, there is nothing we cannot achieve.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 1:30 p.m. at the South Portico of the White House. The Prime Minister spoke in Japanese, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter. Earlier, the President and the Prime Minister met in the Oval Office and then attended a luncheon in the Residence.

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