Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton Meets With Japanese Foreign Minister Okada in Tokyo

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
May 21, 2010
Secretary Clinton Arrives at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport
Secretary Clinton Shakes Hands With Tokyo Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Zumwalt
Secretary Clinton Meets Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada
Secretary Clinton and Japanese Foreign Minister Okada Shake Hands Before Talks
Secretary Clinton Shakes Hands With Japanese Foreign Minister Okada
Secretary Clinton Meets Prime Minister Hatoyama
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama Shakes Hands With Assistant Secretary Campbell
Secretary Clinton Departs Tokyo

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On May 21, Secretary Clinton made her first stop of her Asia trip in Japan. At the Ikura Guesthouse in Tokyo, Secretary Clinton participated in a joint press availability with Japanese Foreign Minister Okada.

Secretary Clinton paid tribute to the U.S.-Japan alliance. She said, "Japan was the first nation I visited as Secretary of State, because we recognize that this relationship continues to be a cornerstone of security, stability, and progress in a region that is so crucial to the future of our entire world. This year, as the United States and Japan mark the 50th anniversary of our alliance, we can be very proud of all we have accomplished together; the peace we have kept, the prosperity we have built, and the bonds we have forged. This partnership is essential for meeting the challenges not only of today, but also of tomorrow. And it is a rock solid foundation for our shared future."

The Secretary also commented on the sinking of the South Korean ship. She said, "The evidence is overwhelming and condemning. The torpedo that sunk the Cheonan and took the lives of 46 South Korean sailors was fired by a North Korean submarine. And the United States strongly condemns this act of aggression. As Minister Okada and I discussed, we will be in deep and constant consultations, not only between the United States and Japan, but also with South Korea, China, and others to determine our response."

The Secretary continued, "We appreciate Japan's support of South Korea and this investigation, because we recognize the threat that North Korea's aggression poses is also to the people of Japan. Last year I met with families of the abducted, and expressed my personal sympathy and concern. The United States and Japan continue to work side by side to meet the challenges posed by North Korea. We agree that North Korea must stop its provocative behavior, halt its policy of threats and belligerence toward its neighbors, and take irreversible steps to fulfill its denuclearization commitments, and comply with international law. I will be discussing these issues with my counterparts in Beijing next week, and then I will travel to Seoul, to consult with our South Korean partners about the way forward. But let me be clear. This will not be and cannot be business as usual. There must be an international -- not just a regional, but an international -- response."Read the Secretary's full remarks here.



New Mexico, USA
May 22, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Daily Press Briefing, May 21, 2010


QUESTION: Yesterday, Pentagon said the defense minister didn’t think that it’s an act of war – I mean, the Cheonan incident is not – is a little short of act of war. What is the State Department --

MR. CROWLEY: Who said that?

QUESTION: It was in the Pentagon report, press report.


QUESTION: The exact wording was neither he nor Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would go – wouldn’t go as far as characterizing the refuted attack as an act of war. That was the wording.

MR. CROWLEY: So you’re talking about Secretary Gates?


MR. CROWLEY: I mean, as we’ve made clear, this was a clear and compelling violation of the existing armistice. It was without doubt a hostile act. It was provocative. It was unwarranted. I think our characterizations are broadly consistent. We will be evaluating appropriate steps with our – with regional partners. And as we’ve said, there will clearly be consequences to North Korea.

Yes, go ahead.

QUESTION: Just to clarify, does the State Department see it as an act of war or not?

MR. CROWLEY: I think the White House statement that we put out before called it an act of aggression. I mean, everyone perhaps has their particular term. Act of war – it was a torpedo fired by one military vessel against another military vessel. No one knows what the intent of North Korea was. But it was unwarranted, it was unnecessary, it killed 46 South Korean sailors, and we will be working together and – as the Secretary said – there will be a strong and appropriate international response.


Let me see if I understand this correctly...

By all tradition among the world's navies, by historical precedence on numerous occasion the act of firing upon another ship and sinking her has been for all intents and purposes been regarded as "an act of war" by governments since a cannon was first put abord a bark and fired in anger.

I think the way to properly describe this event in a way that would be most accurate in going so far as to accept the act as a thing that meets the criteria for the traditional definition of "an act of war", but may not be of itself, "causus belli" as a reason to go to war.

Perhaps defining the difference between these aspects will separate a certain connectivity with the phrase between an act, and it's legal and humanitarian ramifications.

Let's make clear the public understanding rather than dancing around whether or not to use a certain phraseology.

And one only does that when a more proper and accurate definition is not momentarily handy on the mind, or the issue is "under review".

But no one's looking to make headlines, and the press surely wants people to.

So I hope I've helped dispel some "loaded" phraseology, if any of this makes any sense at all to Bob Gates or PJ Crowley.

Perhaps they'll appreciate that a citizen took the time to think about it.

Maryland, USA
May 22, 2010

Patrick in Maryland writes:

Nice too see your short visit went well.

Great photos of the meetings and hand shakes between our Government officials.

Hopefully Kurt said hi for me hehe.

Anyways, i hope you Guys can work out the issues we're having with North Korea, and find a response or approach that is agreeable too all concerned.

See ya...Guys have a good trip Hillary...:) ...)

New Mexico, USA
May 23, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

BBC News item;

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has apologised for not keeping an election promise to move a US military base from Okinawa.

Mr Hatoyama travelled to the island and met local governor Hirokazu Nakaima.

Like many locals, the governor is opposed to the US presence and said the prime minister's decision would be "difficult to accept".


Given the security issues and the escalating tensions in the region, the circumstances don't give the Japanese PM much of choice in order to provide for continuity of defensive infrastructure to safeguard the Japanese people from the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear idiocy.

Since we are going to be in Okinawa for the forseeable future, perhaps State and DOD can get together and develop a community outreach program that will endear us to the locals and mitigate the resentment of our presence.

Little league baseball or something that we can sponsor, or scholastic scolarships, cultural exchange programs...I'm sure State can come up with something not already attempted that will make a difference in local public opinion.

Mihai P.
June 17, 2010

Mihai P. in Japan writes:

I read news the Japan's new prime minister's office said instead that Kan was quoted as telling Mr. President Obama in the call last Sunday, that he would make "strenuous efforts on the relocation of the base."…
This is outrageous!
I would convey my message to Japanese myself but I cannot write their language.
How can I word it… The problem is simple. USA police the world. USA needs bases!
But it is more than that! “You” Japanese demand that US Boys fight for you and die for you and “You” don’t even give them a place to start from?! It is the paradox of the good will and friendliness!

The Japanese says they are Allies?! But what they do screams louder the contrary!
The Japanese think they can turn the USA around their fingers. And use USA whenever they want on whatever they want!
The USA needs to show off a little bit to Japanese. USA are too kind with a perverse Ally!

Mihai P.
June 18, 2010

Mihai P. in Japan writes:

If the Japanese throw out of Japan the US Military Bases from Okinawa, it is like the Japanese re-write the Japan Defense Treaty allover. Just on their terms.

The United States of America should re-write a new Treaty of Defense of Japan, adding “unknowns” in the equation, something like: ”… US will defend Japan… depending on how depleted the US Forces are at that given moment/ how allocated in the world context/ on how many wars is US engaged/ the availability of Forces. Also depending on the readiness/ capabilities of Forces on standby from the nearby Bases; as well taking in consideration the increased distance/ overhead of logistic burdens and etc., etc., …” Something on those lines...

Just let the Japanese know US means “business”! In the absence of fairness from the Japanese side and only skirmish, this would be a proportionate response! The Japanese should leave the US Military Bases right there where they are! Tell Japanese to stop inciting people of Okinawa against the US Bases! Instead start to educate them!


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