President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton hosted Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of Japan in Washington, D.C. on April 30, 2012. During a joint press conference at the White House, President Obama said, "It is a great pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Noda of Japan, one of America's closest allies in the Asia Pacific region but also around the world. And, of course, one of the reasons that we enjoy such a strong alliance between our nations is because it's rooted in the deep friendship between our peoples."
President Obama continued, "...We recognize that the U.S.-Japan alliance will remain the foundation of the security and prosperity of our two nations but also a cornerstone of regional peace and security. As such, we reviewed the agreement that our governments reached last week to realign American forces in Japan. This reflects our effort to modernize America's defense posture in the Asia Pacific with forces that are more broadly distributed, more flexible and more sustainable."
In his remarks, President Obama also addressed the important economic relationship the United States and Japan share, as both countries are among each other's top trading partners. The President and Prime Minister instructed their teams to continue consultation regarding Japan's interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and they agreed to deepen cooperation on nuclear safety, clean energy, and cyber security. President Obama also discussed Japan's role as a global partner, working on a range of issues -- including those affecting Afghanistan, Burma, Iran, and North Korea.
While hosting a dinner for the Prime Minister, Secretary Clinton said:
"Japan remains an essential world leader, even in the face of the unspeakable tragedies that it suffered. Americans are inspired by the bravery and resilience of the Japanese people.
"In addition to the partnership between our two governments, what is most important about our relationship are the ties between our two peoples. Many of you here tonight have played an important role in strengthening the bonds that our countries share. But we want to be sure that it is not just a relationship of the present and the past, but also one of the future.
"That's why we are working to create opportunities for the young people in both of our countries. Our shared goal is to promote a tomodachi or friendship generation of young people who will be our future leaders. That's why we have created a private-public partnership, the TOMODACHI Initiative, to bring young people from both countries together. We are looking forward to receiving hundreds of young Japanese students and sending hundreds of young American students, through student exchanges, sports programs, and entrepreneurial programs."