On a spectacular autumn day in Tokyo, Deputy Secretary William Burns caught a glimpse of the next generation of Japanese leaders as he delivered remarks and took questions from students at the University of Tokyo (known in Japan as "Todai"), one of the most prestigious educational institutions in Japan. In front of an audience of nearly 200 graduate and undergraduate students from the School of Public Policy and other departments, Deputy Secretary Burns reaffirmed the enduring value of the U.S.-Japan Alliance and underscored the truly global partnership shared by our two countries -- ranging from our cooperation in Afghanistan to our anti-piracy efforts off the Horn of Africa. But he also emphasized that our bilateral partnership is not limited to security-related issues, encompassing a robust economic relationship and a vital array of people-to-people exchanges as well.
During his remarks, the Deputy Secretary stated, "the continued, tremendous importance of Japan to the United States is clear to all of us here today. And, in our words and our actions, it is clear to the entire world… The United States is strongly committed to connecting the next generation in both our societies to one another. With young leaders like you, there is no limit to what we can achieve together."
The Todai students demonstrated an interest in regional and global affairs, querying the Deputy Secretary on the U.S. approach to North Korea, American policy towards China, and the possible impacts of the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Deputy Secretary also had the opportunity to meet with Japanese officials in the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the country's two major political parties during his visit. It was a terrific beginning to the Deputy Secretary's first trip to Asia. The United States will continue to engage with Japan to keep our bilateral partnership vibrant and focused on the future -- particularly as we enter the next phases of recovery and reconstruction in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
You can read the full text of the Deputy Secretary's speech here.