U.S.-Japan Alliance Grounded in Shared Interests: Highlights From Prime Minister Abe's State Visit

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
April 29, 2015
President Barack Obama Shakes Hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the End of a Press Conference, in the Rose Garden of the White House

This week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe embarked on a historic visit to the United States -- a visit that highlighted strengthened ties between the the United States and Japan. On Sunday, April 26th, Prime Minister Abe arrived in Boston, where he met with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and had a working dinner with Secretary Kerry at his home.

Prime Minister Abe’s visit is a tribute to the partnership between the United States and Japan that for seven decades has made enduring contributions to global peace, security, and prosperity.

Secretary Kerry poses with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife, Akie Abe, as well as Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, in front of his home on Beacon Hill in Boston, Massachusetts, before a working dinner at the outset of the Abes' weeklong State visit to the U.S., April 26, 2015. [State Department photo]

On Monday, April 27th, Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter hosted the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee (2+2) meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani in New York City, where they discussed security and defense issues relevant to the U.S.-Japan alliance. Secretary Kerry said. "Our dialogue this morning focused on particularly transformative achievement -- the completion of the new guidelines for the U.S.-Japan defense cooperation, which is our first such revision since 1997...The guidelines that we have worked on that have been announced today will enhance Japan’s security, deter threats, and contribute to regional peace and stability. The United States and Japan stand together in calling for disputes in the region to be resolved peacefully."

Following the 2+2 meeting in New York City, Prime Minister Abe arrived in Washington, D.C., for a State Visit. President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed him to the White House.

The Prime Minister began the State Visit with an arrival ceremony on the White House South Lawn the morning of April 28. Arrival ceremonies began during the Kennedy Administration and have evolved into the traditional way to welcome visiting world leaders.

The United States and Japan are leading efforts to set the rules for trade and investment, both in the Asia Pacific region and around the world. On Monday, April 27th, President Obama and Prime Minister Abe held a joint presser in the Rose Garden, where they announced that their respective countries would continue to work together to set high standards for trade in the 21st century, and to coordinate closely on transitioning to low-carbon economies and fighting climate change. President Obama also congratulated the Prime Minister for Japan’s efforts to bring more women into the workforce, and to let all girls learn.

On Tuesday, April 28th, Secretary Kerry hosted a luncheon in honor of Prime Minister Abe. In remarks at the luncheon, Secretary Kerry said, "From adversaries to allies; from a climate of suspicion to one of abiding trust. We have built a friendship that has provided immeasurable benefits to both countries and yielded enormous dividends across the globe. During those 70 years – and not every step, everybody knows, has been easy; our countries are very different in history, in culture, in language, in customs. And we both have vibrant democracies in which many voices are heard. But because we have learned well both the lessons of war and the possibilities of peace, we’ve been able to foster a spirit of cooperation that extends to every category of international affairs, and we have really in many ways just begun."

Secretary Kerry underscored many important areas on which the United States and Japan are cooperating such as health, environment, security, and combatting terrorism. "The alliance between the United States and Japan is grounded in shared interests, and there can be no doubt about that" he said. "But more essential by far are the values that we share in support of democracy: A love of justice, respect for the rule of law, and a sense of compassion and caring for other people. We are strengthened as well by the fact that we have long since ceased to be strangers. It’s not only our prime ministers and presidents who visit one another. Our businesspeople, our teachers, our researchers, our tourists, our pop stars, our athletes, even our celebrity chefs travel back and forth, learning about each other and forging unbreakable bonds."

Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe Speaks at a Luncheon that Secretary Kerry co-hosted in His Honor along with Vice President Biden, at the U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, April 28, 2015 [State Department photo]

Today, Japanese Prime Minister Abe addressed a joint meeting of Congress -- a first for a Japanese Prime Minister. The Prime Minister said, "It is because of our strong belief in democratic principles and ideals that Japan associates herself with the free nations of the world."

Prime Minister Abe discussed the relationship between the United States and Japan after World War II, and the need for the two nations to lead and "spread our shared values around the world and have them take root: the rule of law, democracy, and freedom." He continued, "That is exactly what the TPP is all about... The TPP goes far beyond just economic benefits. It is also about our security. Long-term, its strategic value is awesome. We should never forget that. The TPP covers an area that accounts for 40 per cent of the world economy, and one third of global trade. We must turn the area into a region for lasting peace and prosperity. That is for the sake of our children and our children's children. As for U.S. - Japan negotiations, the goal is near. Let us bring the TPP to a successful conclusion through our joint leadership."  

For more information:


Latest Stories