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Strong Japan-U.S. Ties Benefit World, Obama Says

Published on 25 April 2014

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by Jane Morse


Washington, D.C.

“A strong U.S.-Japan relationship is not only good for our countries but good for the world,” says President Obama.

In remarks to reporters before his April 24 meeting with Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, Obama said U.S.-Japan “shared democratic values mean that we have to work together in multilateral settings to deal with regional hot spots around the globe, but also to try to make sure that we are creating a strong set of rules that govern the international order.”

“And the strong people-to-people bonds that we have and the educational and scientific and cultural exchanges that we have mean that our friendship and alliance, I'm confident, will continue for generations to come,” the president said.

Obama is in Japan April 23–25 on a state visit to discuss the modernization of the U.S.-Japan security alliance as well as economic and commercial ties between the two countries. Japan is his first stop on a trip through East Asia that will also take him to the Republic of Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.

During a joint press conference April 24 with Abe, Obama said: “America’s security and prosperity is inseparable from the future of [the Asia-Pacific] region, and that’s why I’ve made it a priority to renew American leadership in the Asia-Pacific. And the cornerstone of our strategy — and the foundation of the region’s security and economic progress — is our historic treaty alliances, including with Japan.”

Obama said the United States and Japan agree “to continue deepening our security cooperation. … As we modernize our defense posture in the region, our forces in Japan will include our most advanced military capabilities.”

The president added that the United States and Japan “stand together in calling for disputes in the region, including maritime issues, to be resolved peacefully through dialogue. We share a commitment to fundamental principles such as freedom of navigation and respect for international law.”

Regarding commercial ties between the two countries, Obama acknowledged that “there are certain sectors of the Japanese economy — agricultural sectors, the auto sector — in which market access has been restricted historically, certainly compared to the market access that Japan has had to U.S. consumers.” But the president praised Abe for having recognized that “if, in fact, Japan wanted to push forward in this new century, then reforms were going to have to take place. And he has initiated a number of those reforms.”

Current trade talks between the United States and Japan are of “strategic importance,” Obama said, because they are “shaping the economic environment for the fastest-growing region in the world, not just for this year or next year, but potentially for this decade and the next decade.”

“And what rules apply — whether we are operating in a fair and transparent way, whether intellectual property is respected, whether markets are freely accessible, whether, in fact, countries are able to increase trade, and as a consequence increase jobs and prosperity for their people — a lot of that is going to depend on choices and decisions that we make right now,” Obama said.

Economic security, the president added, also depends on energy security. “We’re going to keep working together on clean and efficient alternatives to fossil fuels both at home and abroad that can power the global economy while combating climate change,” he said.



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Posted 2014-04-25 08:41:00