"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Joint Press Conference

[Place] Tokyo
[Date] April 17, 1996
[Source] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

Speakers :

Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto, Prime Minister of Japan

Mr. William Clinton, President of the United States of America

I. Opening statement by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto of Japan

Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto of Japan:

Right in front of you, I and President Clinton have signed two documents. One is the message to the peoples of Japan and the United States, that lays down the direction in which the two countries should together proceed towards the 21st century. And, the second is the Japan-U.S. Declaration on Security. The message to the peoples of Japan and the United States summarizes how important the Japan-U.S. bilateral relations are for our peoples, and how our two countries will cooperate on a future agenda, by referring to the preciousness of democracy and freedom, bilateral cooperation on regional issues, cooperation on United Nations reform and on disarmament, and on our economic relations, and, in any case, how we shall cooperate with each other in these respects. The Japan-U.S. Declaration on Security reaffirms that the Japan-U.S. security set-up will continue to play an important role, as in the past, in preserving security, peace, and stability in the Asia-Pacific, and notes that it will be the pivot point for bilateral cooperation into the future. Our meeting covered wide ground: security, economic and other bilateral issues, as well as various problems in the international community. On the consolidation, realignment, and reduction of military facilities in Okinawa, both governments are making sincere efforts to reduce the burden on the Okinawan people, by paying the utmost consideration to the Okinawan people. We once again expressed our appreciation for the contents of the interim of the Special Action Committee on Facilities and Areas in Okinawa announced the day before yesterday, and mutually confirmed that it will be important to ensure proper and expeditious implementation of the measures spelled-out in that report, and that both of us will continue to do our utmost to arrive at a final agreement in November this year. On Japan-U.S. economic relations, I explained that the Japanese current account surplus is on a declining trend, and that the Government of Japan is working on economic structural reform, including deregulation. I suggested that we engage in discussions on individual economic issues whenever necessary by building on our past track record. We also discussed the importance of Japan and the United States cooperating with each other to stand up against threats to humankind and to the global community. We confirmed, to that end, that six new areas will be added to our cooperation on the so-called Common Agenda, such as on an anti-terrorism initiative, and emerging and re-emerging diseases, etc.; and that we shall further foster such cooperation with the participation of the private sector and other countries. We also decided to study together a 21st- century-type development that will be in harmony with nature. Within the little time we had, we also exchanged views on the situations in different parts of the world: China, the Korean Peninsula, Russia, the former Yugoslavia, the Middle East; and discussed our respective policy thereto. My candid impressions of the meeting today are that today's summit meeting was supported by very firm and large pillars, and by a big roof. The large pillars being mutual understanding between the peoples of our two countries. And, I put to the President my determination to create opportunities for many, many more American youths to visit Japan in the future, so that these pillars will grow even larger. The big roof is the values that our two countries have shared together to date. Japan and the United States, both built on universal values of democracy, human rights, an open economy, among others, have mutually built a relationship that is indispensable for the future of the world. I will end on the note that the essence of the Meeting today was the re-affirmation of this extremely important relationship. I would like to yield to the President now.

II. Opening statement by President William Clinton of the United States of America

President William Clinton of the United States of America:

Thank you, Prime Minister. Let me begin by thanking the Imperial Family and the Prime Minister for their hospitality to me and the First Lady and to all of our American delegation, and thanking the Japanese people for a wonderful welcome in this beautiful springtime. I am here primarily to celebrate the extraordinary partnership between our two nations over the last 50 years, and to strengthen our alliance to meet the demands of this time of exceptional change. The Prime Minister and I strongly agree that, as two of the world's strongest democracies and leading economies, Japan and the United States have a special responsibility to lead. This is a moment of remarkable possibility for our people to make the most of their own lives, but is also a moment of stern challenge. More and more, problems which start beyond our border, become problems within our borders. No one is immune to the threats posed by rogue sates, by the spread of weapons of mass destruction, by terrorism, crime and drug trafficking, by environmental decay and economic dislocation. But, together we can turn these collective challenges into common solutions. For the past three years, our two nations have been doing just that. Now, when you look at the great diversity of our ties, in security, in trade, and in our Common Agenda partnership, the conclusion is clear: the relationship between the United States and Japan is better and stronger than ever. Our Security Alliance is key to maintaining a Pacific at peace, especially at this time of profound regional change. The Security Declaration that the Prime Minister and I just signed is the result of more than one year's hard work and careful study. It strengthens our alliance for the 21st century. The United States will maintain its troop levels in Japan at about current levels. We will deepen our cooperation with Japan's Self-Defense Forces, and we will reduce the burden of our bases on the Japanese people, especially on the people of Okinawa, without diminishing our defense capability. Our trade relationship is also on the right track. That is good for all of our people. When I took office, there was real frustration in the United States about the difficulty we had selling our goods and services in the Japanese market. Since then, our two nations have signed 21 separate trade agreements, covering everything from auto parts to medical supplies to computers. Our exports in those sectors are up dramatically: about 85 percent. That means, in America, more jobs and better pay, and in Japan, lower prices and greater choice. Free and fair trade is a win-win proposition. Now, there is more work to be done, of course, in areas like insurance and semiconductors and film. None of it will be easy, but for the first time, I want everyone to be clear. We have established a process to resolve problems that do arise in a patient and pragmatic manner. The partnership between our countries is also making a real difference around the world. In Bosnia, we have joined forces to help people rebuild their lives and their land. I want to thank Japan for the extraordinarily generous US$500 million relief and reconstruction package that Japan has just announced. This is evidence of a powerful commitment to lead the world toward peace and freedom. The Prime Minister and I reviewed many other initiatives we are taking under our Common Agenda. We are working to wipe out polio by the year 2000. We are working to reduce the devastation of natural disasters through our earthquake disaster reduction effort, to protect the world's forests and oceans, to lift people's lives through advanced technology, to complete and sign a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty this year. To bring the blessings of peace and freedom to more people than ever before. I also thank the Japanese Government for reaching out for greater educational and cultural exchanges with the American people, and I particularly appreciate the efforts the Prime Minister has made in this regard. In this time of challenge and change, the partnership between our two nations is more important to our people and to the world than ever. If we realize its full potential, that partnership can be a powerful force for progress and peace for our own people and all around the world. Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. Prime Minister Hashimoto: Questions and answers. Those of you with questions, please raise your hand.

III. Japan-U.S. coordination on defense matters

Q: President Clinton and Prime Minister, we appreciate your work. The question is for Prime Minister Hashimoto. You stated your candid impressions with regard to the meeting you just had. On individual issues, amidst the end of the Cold War, in this new situation in the world, I believe one of your important themes was to reaffirm the importance of the Japan-U.S. relationship. I wonder -- I think you have reaffirmed that the guidelines for Japan-U.S. defense cooperation will be reviewed as well. But in this connection, I believe there will be a need for coordination of views between Japan and the United States with regard to the exercise of collective self-defense, which is a matter that could impinge on the Japanese Constitution, and I wonder how you are going to address that problem, Mr. Prime Minister?

Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto of Japan:

Last year, we modified the National Defense Outline, and came up with a new outline of the national defense program, in order to organize Japanese defense capabilities in accordance with the new prevailing international circumstances. It goes without saying that, since there have been changes, we have to engage in various studies in response to those changes. I truly believe that it is because of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty that for the 51 years since our defeat in the Second World War, we have been able to lead peaceful lives. We did not think much about a contingency situation. In case that emergency arises, there might be a need to rescue Japanese in certain areas of emergency. We might also have to receive refugees. We were very fortunate; we didn't have to think about those contingencies. Today, however, we have to consider those possibilities and consider what can be done and what cannot be done. We have to study these very clearly. I think there is a true need to engage in that sort of study. Now, there is a tendency for people to say that this is a matter of interpretation of the Constitution, or a matter of emergency legislation and so on. People are bogged down in conceptual discussions. But I think there are certain things that we can do under the present Constitution. I think it is our responsibility to make clear what can be done and what cannot be done. So I would like to appeal to people, taking advantage of this occasion. In case a crisis really emerges, we have to make sure that the Japan-U.S. security set-up will function properly and will be operated efficiently, and to that end we also have to engage in studies as to what can be done and what cannot be done by Japan. That is how I really see it.

IV. Efforts by the U.S. to broker a truce between the State of Israel and the Hezbollah militia

Q: The Prime Minister said that you spoke about the Middle East. Mr. President, what can you tell us about U.S. efforts to broker a truce between Israel and the Hezbollah guerrillas? Are you making any progress, and who do you hold primarily responsible for this violence?

President William Clinton of the United States of America:

Let's begin at the beginning. I think that, clearly, the truce was violated by Hezbollah violating the agreement that had previously been brokered, and raining the Ketushah rockets into northern Israel. That is obviously what provoked this. Now, having said that, I think it is important that we do everything we can to bring an end to the violence. Even though we are here in Japan, and we are working on a very important issue here, we have been quite active in the Middle East. The Secretary of State has spent an enormous amount of time on this issue in the last several days, and we will do what we can to bring an end to the violence and to try to re-establish a workable agreement. But I have no progress to report on that at this time.

V. Matters relating to the situation in the Taiwan Strait

Q: President Clinton, in the bilateral talks held earlier, have you touched on any issues regarding the recent tension in the Taiwan Strait? Because in the Declaration, we couldn't find anything like that having been mentioned. Since you emphasized that the Security Treaty is not only to protect Japan, but also to protect the Asian region and Pacific region, does it mean clearly that Taiwan is under such protection? Thank you.

President William Clinton of the United States of America:

The Prime Minister might want to comment on this as well, but yes, we discussed Taiwan and China extensively, as well as the recent tension in the Strait. It is obvious that our partnership is designed to try to preserve the peace for all peoples in this region. I believe that I can say we both agree that, while the United States clearly observes the so- called "One China Policy," we also observe the other aspects of the agreement we made many years ago, which include a commitment on the part of both parties to resolve all their differences in a peaceable manner, and we have encouraged them to pursue that. Therefore we were concerned about those actions in the Taiwan Strait. I do see some hope in the last few days that there is a return to a more orderly and peaceful relationship, and that is certainly what we are urging both the Chinese and the Taiwanese to do. Prime Minister, do you want to say anything?

Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto of Japan:

When the situation across the Taiwan Strait became very tense, we asked both parties to exercise self-restraint. Also, since the Japan-China Declaration, we have supported the Chinese position that there is only one China. Having said that, we also believe that the two parties should resolve this problem in a peaceful manner.

VI. Peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region

Q:I would like to ask a question of both of you. Confirming here, President, you visited Korea and suggested that the four countries -- U.S., China, Republic of Korea and North Korea -- engage in quadrilateral discussions for peace on the Peninsula. In that bilateral discussion, I wonder how Japanese will participate in discussions. How would you see the Japanese role in that process? What sort of roles would Japan suggest to the U.S., China, Korea and North Korea? One other thing: in this Joint Declaration, you said clearly that the 100,000 troop level would be maintained in East Asia. I believe you did not specifically refer to 47,000 in Japan. Of course, I believe, looking at the future peace in East Asia, would you believe that the 47,000 troop level in Japan is something that is fixed, or something that you can be flexible on?

President William Clinton of the United States of America:

First of all, let me answer the second question first. We are committed to maintaining a constant level of troops in East Asia. How many troops we have on any given day in any given week in Japan or in Korea will vary from time to time depending on what other things are going on in the world and in the area. But we believe we should maintain our participation at more or less the same levels here in Japan, and we believe we can honor our commitments that Secretary Perry and the Prime Minister have just announced -- that the Prime Minister took such a leading role in bringing about with regard to Okinawa and on the other issues -- and still keep about 47,000 people here. Now, on the Korea issue, I want to make it clear that the proposal we made was that these four nations would enter into the peace negotiations because the United States and China were parties to the armistice agreement in Korea 43 years ago. But it is obvious to everyone, I think, that there will never be peace between the Korean people until they agree to the peace. Ultimately, I think that means that it will have to be supported by all the friends and neighbors of Korea, that will have a large say in what kind of future any peaceful resolution would bring about. So I was very gratified when the Prime Minister expressed his support for the proposal that President Kim and I made yesterday, and I hope that others in the region will do so as well, and then I hope they will be part of encouraging North and South Korea to make peace and discussing what might come about after it is over if they do make peace.

Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto of Japan:

When I heard the announcement of that proposal, I was truly happy to learn the contents, the substance of that proposal. Against the background of the situation in the Korean Peninsula, for the four countries including U.S. and China to come to dialogue without any preconditions, I hope, would lead to a true solution. And in that process, if Japan is asked, I believe Japan should play any role it can. Having said that, today there exist the two countries, North Korea and the Republic of Korea; there is a borderline between them. And the United States and China, that participated at the time of the armistice agreement, would participate in those discussions. But it is not for Japan to go out and say, "We want to do this; we want to do that." That is my view. But we should earnestly play the role that we are asked to play. Certainly that is what we ought to do to help each other.

VII. Fostering the Japan-U.S. Common Agenda

Q:I would like to ask a question with regard to the Common Agenda. You have agreed to add new areas for bilateral cooperation, and I would like to invite comments by President Clinton and Prime Minister Hashimoto. Amongst the new areas, there is a counter-terrorism initiative, and it calls for strengthened cooperation between Japan and the United States. As you know, in Japan last year there was an unprecedented large-scale terrorist incident, the Aum Shinrikyo incident, the nerve gas attack. Faced with these terrorist attacks, how would Japan and the United States actually try to, shall we say, cooperate and fall in step in countering these activities? Would the FBI and CIA and Japanese police authorities consider regular meetings, regular exchanges?

President William Clinton of the United States of America:

Of course, the details would have to be worked out. But let me just, if I could, sketch a framework that I would be thinking about. Nations like ours, as borders become more open and money and information are transferred in a millisecond all across the world, we become more integrated. We become vulnerable to two kinds of terrorists. First of all, what you might call home-grown terrorism -- what you experienced in the Japanese subway, what we experienced at Oklahoma City. Secondly, terrorism that is generated or at least involves terrorism from beyond your borders, such as what we experienced at the World Trade Center in New York and a number of the proposed attacks that we were able to thwart. It is obvious to me that these kinds of attacks present a genuine threat not only to the lives of the innocent civilians who may be killed in them, but to the whole idea of an open, civilized society in a global economy. Therefore I think we ought to cooperate in two ways. First of all, there is a lot of information we ought to be sharing with regard to international terrorism, and there is a lot of work we can be doing together. Second, we can learn a lot from each other about how to deal with home- grown terrorism, and even that may have an international aspect. Are people learning, for example, from the Internet how to make the same sort of trouble in the United States that was made in Japan with sarin gas? Isn't it a concern that anybody anywhere in the world can pull down from the Internet the information about how to build a bomb like the bomb that blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City? How can we work together to learn from each other about how to prevent these things before they occur, when they are purely domestically driven, as well as sharing information and technology in law enforcement about the international terrorist networks that are out there? I predict to you that every great nation will have to face this for the next 20 years at least, and we just want to be on the cutting edge of showing that we can work together to save lives and to preserve freedom.

Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto of Japan:

If I could add a word to what the President has already said, we already have cooperation on money-laundering problems and narcotics trading. We already have cooperation in law enforcement. But how we publish these activities, please don't ask us to do that. But as in the case of law enforcement against money-laundering, there are areas where cooperation is already underway, and of course in terms of counter- terrorism, I am sure there are various ways we can engage in cooperation.

VIII. The Japan-U.S. Joint Declaration on Security

Q:Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister, for both of you, the Joint Declaration you have just signed describes the U.S. military role as "essential" to protecting the security of Asia. How you concluded that the U.S. military is essential here, and what circumstances need to change, either in Japan or elsewhere in Asia, before U.S. troops can safely go home?

President William Clinton of the United States of America:

First of all, I believe that our presence is needed here as long as people have any fear at all that some countries might seek to dominate others or that Asia might become a battleground for any sort of security problem that would affect the freedom and independence and the safety of the people of Japan or our other allies in the area. When that time comes to an end, I think it will largely be for the people here to determine, although obviously we would want our views heard as well. One of the most gratifying things for me as President is that where we are involved in security partnerships, as we are in Asia, I believe that we are seen as a force of stability by our very presence there, because of the capacity of our military and the fact that everyone knows we have no ulterior motive. That is, we seek no advantage; we see to dominate no country; we seek to control no country; we seek to do nothing in any improper way with our military power. We are only here with our allies in Korea and Japan, obviously, and to serve as a source of security and stability to others throughout this region. As long as there is any concern about that, I think we should be here if the people here want us here. When that time is over, we will probably all know it, but I think that definition should flow primarily from the people who have been our allies over the decades and whose security we care so deeply about.

Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto of Japan:

Let me pick up the thread where the President left off and give my answer. The presence of the U.S. forces in this part of the world is welcome. We welcome their presence, and we believe that it is serving the stability of Asia and the Pacific. That is of the foremost importance. The Cold War is over, and the days of confrontation between East and West are over. With the end of the Cold War, true -- large sources of confrontation have disappeared. But regional conflicts have increased for various reasons. We see numerous areas of instability around the globe, and in this part of the world, there still remain large amounts of weapons of mass destruction. Against that background, would it be possible for Japan alone to defend itself? To do that, a major effort will be required, and also, probably, we will not be able to lay to rest international concerns regarding vis-a- vis such Japanese endeavors. The United States is putting its presence in this area in the form of the American youth, and I believe it can be understood clearly how precious a presence they are for the security of this part of the world.

Q:A question for the President. I believe the agreement on security this time will mean a very major turning point for Japan-U.S. security, and I wonder if you have any comments to share with us.

President William Clinton of the United States of America:

My view is that it will reinforce our security relationship -- not represent a turning point, but represent a maturing of it. For example, when the Prime Minister asked us to consider the concerns of the people of Okinawa and I became acquainted with them, as a result of some of the unfortunate incidents that you know well about, it bothered me that these matters had not been resolved before now, before this time. Again, I want to publicly say what I said to the Prime Minister last night: I want to thank him for giving the United States the opportunity to respond in an appropriate manner to try to resolve these matters. But we did it in a way that did not in any way undermine our own security or defense capabilities, and therefore permits us to cooperate with Japan in whatever way may be necessary as challenges come along in the future and as Japan defines its own security agenda. So I don't see this as a dramatic departure; I see this as a relationship between two old friends maturing, dealing with things that needed to be dealt with, and adjusting to the challenges of the world that we now face.

IX. Possible outbreak of the Ebola virus in the State of Texas

Q:Mr. President, are you up to date on the apparent discovery of the Ebola virus in Texas, and what can the Federal Government do -- I guess via the CDC -- to make sure that no kind of scare develops from this?

President William Clinton of the United States of America:

I have been briefed on it this morning. The CDC is on top of it. We are working with the Texas health officials. We believe, based on what we now know, that there is no substantial threat to the general population of the people there or of the people of the United States generally. So I can say that I would urge people not to overreact to this. It is a serious matter. We are on top of it. If the facts change and we think there is something more to be concerned about, you may be sure we will inform the American people as soon as we can. But for now, I am confident that the Federal Government is taking appropriate action and we are on top of it, and there is nothing for the people to overreact to at this moment. Thank you very much.