"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] Speech by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto at Columbia University, Japan-U.S. Relations: A Partnership for the Twenty First Century

[Place] New York
[Date] June 23, 1997
[Source] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]


Thank you Mr. Langhammer for your kind introduction.

Dr. Cole, Dean Anderson, Mr. Ford, ladies and gentlemen:

It is a great pleasure and an honor for me to address this distinguished audience. I should like to thank Columbia University, the School of International and Public Affairs, and the Foreign Policy Association for making this arrangement. I praise the initiative of the U.S.-Japan Foundation for launching the U.S.-Japan lecture series.

I have been looking forward to this occasion. The reason is, of course, the privilege of making this visit to Columbia University which prides itself with one of the finest Japan study programs in the world, and which is making a significant contribution to the development of Japan-U.S. relations. But I have to be honest and confess another reason. My son-in-law, who is married to my second daughter, is studying here at Columbia University reading a master's program, and so I have a grandson here in New York. Should my grandson come to entertain a desire to study at Columbia University when he grows up, and if my address here today plays even a small part in motivating him, it would really be wonderful.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Denver Summit came to a successful conclusion yesterday. I am grateful for the warm hospitality of the people of Denver and the United States. I cooperated unswervingly with Chairman Clinton for the success of the Summit. There I realized anew how decisive a role Japan-U.S. cooperation plays as the international community stands up to meet the challenge for the twenty-first century.

Over a span of a mere half a century since World War II, Japan and the United States have developed probably the most outstanding partnership in the modern world, embracing common values of freedom and democracy. In this process, the United States had a major influence on Japan. Japan's remarkable economic growth would not have been possible without the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements, nor without continued access to the immense and open market provided by the United States. I have deep gratitude and great respect for the United States which even today abounds in creativity and dynamism, and which continues to be an exemplary model for the world.

It is already fifteen years since Ambassador Mansfield described Japan-U.S. relations as "the most important bilateral relationship in the world." Today, our bilateral relationship is growing in its importance, offering a foundation for stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, and as a cooperative relationship which contributes to the world. I really felt this to be the case at the time of the Japan-U.S. auto talks. When tension between our two countries mounted because of the auto talks, many friends from Europe and Asia appealed to me fervently that we should not damage this precious Japan-U.S. relationship because of the automobile issue. The auto talks were, to me, "the most importunate bilateral negotiations in the world." However, through the talks, I clearly engrained in my heart the preciousness of the Japan-U.S. relationship. Nowadays, I am very grateful to Mickey, who challenged me, a fifth-grade holder of kendo, with a bamboo sword.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am convinced that even in the twenty-first century, the Japan-U.S. partnership should be able to bring about the fruits of stability and prosperity to our two peoples, and also the blessing of peace and progress throughout the world. From such a perspective, I would like to share with you my thoughts on the three pillars of Japan-U.S. relations - namely, security, economy, and global cooperation - and to present to you how I see Japan-U.S. relations in the coming new era.

(Security Relations)

The first pillar is the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements. I hardly need to reiterate here that even in the post-Cold War era, the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements remain indispensable for maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. When I talk with leaders from many of the Asian countries, I am made to realize how much reassurance the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements provide to the countries in this region. At the same time the question of whether the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements would function effectively in times of emergency has always been asked; and the issue of U.S. bases in Okinawa which has given a major challenge to the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements, remains an important agenda.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my desire to forge more credible Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements which meet the requirements of the coming new era. The Japan-U.S. Joint Declaration on Security, which President Clinton and I announced in April 1996, reaffirmed the significance of Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements and set a direction for Japan-U.S. defense cooperation for the coming age. Infusing life into this Declaration, in other words, the very act of implementing the cooperation in line with the Declaration is tantamount to, I believe, the establishment of the new Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements adapted to the coming era.

One of the most urgent tasks is to define in concrete terms the cooperative arrangements and the division of roles between Japan and the United States in the event of an emergency. For this purpose, the two governments are now engaged in the process of reviewing the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation, and issued an Interim Report of the review on the seventh of this month. This review will be conducted without altering the framework for the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, and within the framework of the Japanese Constitution. However, if a situation arises in Japan's surrounding area which significantly impacts on Japan's peace and security, the manner with which Japan responds to such a situation has a direct bearing on the essence of the Japan-U.S. alliance. I, therefore, attach great importance to this review. In addition to this, developing arrangements for effective bilateral cooperation between us in case of emergency will further enhance peace and security in the region. While Japan will continue to offer sufficient explanations to its surrounding countries, we will also exhaust public discussion in Japan and will make public the new Guidelines on Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation this autumn.

We must not forget the issue of U.S. bases in Okinawa. Since assuming the office of Prime Minister of Japan, I have been tackling this issue as a top priority agenda of my administration. As a successful result of the joint work between Japan and the United States, an agreement has been reached on the reversion of eleven facilities and areas of U.S. forces in Japan including the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. There is no wavering in the broad-based support of the Japanese people for the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements. However, the issue of U.S. bases in Okinawa continues to be extremely important in terms of gaining the understanding and cooperation of the local people and improving the reliability of the Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements. I would like to have your continued understanding and cooperation on this matter.

(Economic Relations)

The second pillar is economic relations. The Japan-U.S. economic relationship that I envision for the new era is one in which the two countries not only devote themselves to resolving frictions, but also engage in their own reforms as well as promote bilateral cooperation from a wider perspective so that the two countries may lead the world economy.

I presume that the points of your greatest interest are:

- how fundamental a change will the reforms undertaken by my administration bring about to Japanese society;

- whether the Japanese economy will continue to grow; and

- whether Japan's financial systems will remain sound.

There may be cynicism in the United States about reforms now being undertaken in Japan. However, I would like to state unequivocally that my determination is firm and that we are definitely moving forward.

For instance, as for the reform of the fiscal structure, which happens to be the worst among the major industrialized countries, we aim at reducing the current budget deficit of 5.4 percent of GDP to 3 percent by fiscal year 2003. We have, therefore, formulated a concrete plan to achieve this objective earlier this month.

As for deregulation, I spoke with President Clinton on this issue during my visit to Washington D.C. in April and also in Denver. We agreed to enhance our dialogue on deregulation. We will go through with extensive deregulation in order to revitalize the Japanese economy.

With regard to the financial systems reform, by the year 2001 we aim to move forward with the disposal of nonperforming loans and to revitalize the Tokyo market into an international financial market comparable to those of New York and London. To achieve this, we laid out, in the middle of this month, an overall picture of a new financial system based on the principles of "free," "fair," and "global."

The six reforms I am promoting are different from past reforms in the sense that they go beyond piecemeal reforms. These reforms are designed to bring about a paradigm shift of the entire Japanese system that has sustained Japan in the postwar period. This kind of sweeping reform may bring about pain in the short run. However, I am convinced that the effects of these reforms will gradually become evident and that Japan's economy and society will revive toward the twenty-first century.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Japan and the United States alone make up approximately 40 percent of the world's GNP and invest the largestamount of capital in research and development of science and technology. The two countries are taking the lead in expanding frontiers of economic activities. Japan and the United States of course need to be always alert in order to ensure wise management of the bilateral economic relationship, but at the same time the two countries need to be fully aware of their responsibilities regarding the world economy as a whole and play even more active roles in maintaining and expanding an open and free economic system and in assisting developing countries and countries in transition. Fortunately, circumstances conducive to our efforts are emerging. We have resolved many individual bilateral economic issues, including automobiles, semiconductors, and insurance, thanks to the efforts made by both countries. In recent years, Japanese companies, particularly those in the manufacturing sector, are increasingly transferring their production capacity abroad; and in the United States this has created 750,000 new jobs. Today, two out of three Japanese cars we see on U.S. roads are produced in the United States. Because of such a structural change, the mid- and long-term trend in Japan's trade surplus with the United States is on the decrease. This should have a positive influence on Japan-U.S. economic relations over the coming years.

(Global Cooperation)

The third pillar of Japan-U.S. relations is global cooperation. I wonder if the distinguished guests gathered here are informed of examples of our global cooperation: Japan and the United States have together succeeded in the eradication of polio in the western Pacific region and are expanding the sphere of cooperation aimed at eradication of polio worldwide by year 2000; we also cooperate to preserve the coral reefs worldwide-one example is in Palau. As these examples show, Japan and the United States are actively promoting cooperation for creating a better global community.

In the Asia-Pacific region, while many countries enjoy economic prosperity, there remain a number of elements of instability including the tense situation on the Korean Peninsula. We expect that China's presence will be felt to grow increasingly larger. How we ensure the stability and prosperity of this region as we approach the twenty-first century is an important task which will have an enormous effect on the future of our two countries. We now stand at an important juncture.

Mutual visits at the summit level are scheduled this year and next year between the United States and China and also between Japan and China. This will provide us with golden opportunities to build constructive and cooperative relations with China. I believe that we need to make use of this momentum and make as much substantive progress as possible regarding issues we have with China including its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Furthermore, in a week's time we will witness the historic moment of Hong Kong's handover to China. I strongly wish to see the continuing development of Hong Kong through the maintenance of its free and open systems.

Regarding the Korean Peninsula, the four-party talks have been proposed with a view to achieving a lasting peace. I highly commend the United States for its efforts to realize the four-party talks and strongly hope that North Korea will accept the proposal at an early date. There is a steady progress in the operation of the Korean Energy Development Organization (KEDO), which was established by Japan and the United States together with the Republic of Korea. A preparatory work for the construction of light-warter reactors is just about to begin in North Korea.

Japan-U.S. cooperation is not limited to the Asia-Pacific region but extends to areas such as the Middle east, Bosnia, Latin America, and Africa. As demonstrated by this, the range of Japan's international involvement has greatly expanded, and I believe that in regard to issues with global dimensions, Japan should take up its responsibility more actively by becoming a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Do you know that, under the banner of the Common Agenda, Japan and the United States have, for the last four years, obtained significant achievements by implementing projects in which we joined forces to protect the global environment and to combat threats to individuals and society such as infectious diseases, natural disasters, and terrorism? This morning, I attended the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the environment. There, I saw faces of many leaders from both developed and developing countries, and the determination of the international community to tackle environmental issues vividly came across to me. I often discuss environmental issues with President Clinton and Vice President Gore. This March, when Vice President Gore visited Japan, we agreed, as part of our efforts on the Common Agenda, to expand to the developing countries the GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) program which aims to deepen children's understanding of the global environment. We also agreed to advance cooperation for the preservation of the ecosystem in areas covering 100 million acres in Central and South America and the Caribbean. To promote such environmental cooperation, cooperation with the private sector, including NGOs is particularly important, in addition to goverment efforts. I ask for your cooperation in this respect.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I believe that the third pillar of Japan-U.S. relations, namely global cooperation, is the area where we can most effectively demonstrate the achievement of U.S.-Japan cooperation as we approach the twenty-first century. I strongly feel this to be the case when I have talks with President Clinton. The topics of our talks always go well beyond bilateral relations to cover the issues around the whole world.

(Concluding Remarks)

Today I have spoken about my thoughts on the three pillars of Japan-U.S. relations. Needless to say, the solid foundation supporting these pillars is the mutual understanding between our two peoples. Even as I speak, many business people, journalists, academics, artists and athletes and many more are engaged in exchanges and deepening mutual understanding between the two countries. Above all, I am heartened to see that exchanges of young people between our two countries are becoming more active. I am delighted that among the audience here I see many young people. You are the ones to carry the partnership into the twenty-first century.

The Fulbright Program, which was initiated soon after World War II, has given many Japanese people opportunities to study in the United States. This fiscal year, the Government of Japan launched the Fulbright Memorial Program, which will bring five hundred American teachers to Japan and provide opportunities to learn in Japan. Even in the area of administration, since last year American officials are undergoing on-the-job-training inside the governmental agencies of Japan under the program named after Ambassador Mansfield. I do not know if they are mastering the art of notorious "gyosei-shido" or "administrative guidance," but they are definitely sharing each other's experiences and the lessons learned. Today, thanks to the availability of the most advanced form of communications, such as the Internet, opportunities for exchange and mutual understanding between our two peoples are further being expanded. I am firmly convinced that the bonds of trust and friendship between our two peoples, which have led us from devastation of war to prosperity under peace, and from mutual distrust to partnership, will continue to be the prime engine for advancement of Japan-U.S. relations and the prosperity of the global community in the twenty-first century.

In concluding my remarks, I would like to invite you all to join me in reaffirming the gravity and the value of the Japan-U.S. partnership and in renewing our determination to nurture this partnership toward the next century, for the benefit of ourselves, of our children and grandchildren, and for the sake of the entire world.

Thank you very much.