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Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto of Japan in Denver, Colorado

June 19, 1997

Southern Baptist Boycott of Disney

Q. Mr. President, are you going to abide by the Southern Baptist vote on boycotting Disney?

President Clinton. No.

Deregulation and Trade

Q. Mr. President, the United States has been urging Japan for a number of years now to try to jump-start its domestic economy. Do you have any confidence that they're likely to be able to do so in a way that would actually improve their domestic economy——

President Clinton. Well, if the Prime Minister's deregulation initiative works, I think it could spark a lot of domestic economic activity and also increase demand in a way that would improve life for Japanese consumers and also help——

Q. Are you going to express displeasure about the trade imbalance figures that came out today?

President Clinton. Well, I wish they weren't so high. But we're going to discuss that. But keep in mind we also have made an agreement today to involve the United States in the process with Japan to evaluate its deregulation initiatives in several areas in terms of how it might affect our bilateral relations. So we're moving in the right direction, and I'm hopeful we can make some progress.

Q. Do you view it as——

Prime Minister Hashimoto. If I may say one word here. About our question, if you look at the situation in the foreign exchange market, the market has been calm, very calm. This is the answer from my side.

Q. Prime Minister Hashimoto, U.S. officials told us that you had reached an agreement with the United States under which the United States would have an advisory role on deregulating certain of Japan's industries. Do you view it as, in any sense, a violation of Japan's economic sovereignty to give the United States such a role? And why did you not insist on parity, that is to say the Japanese have got a role in U.S. deregulation?

Prime Minister Hashimoto. It's not an advisory role. We have no intention of being supervised. Deregulation is a task that we have to embark upon for ourselves. We're friends, so we already discuss matters with the United States in that kind of process. We made a promise back in Washington, and yesterday we were able to reach an understanding to establish a framework for such a problem. So please have more confidence in the two of us.

Q. Thank you.

[At this point, one group of reporters left the room, and another group entered.]

China's Status in Future Economic Summits

Q. Mr. President, do you think that China should be a member of the summit in the future? If so, what conditions would be there?

President Clinton. Well, the short answer to that question is that these summits have always been summits of market-oriented democracies. And so it would require a whole redefinition of what this process is for a country that doesn't have democratically elected leaders to be part of it. What I do believe is that the United States and Japan should be working together to help to integrate China into the world's economic institutions and to build stable partnerships for peace and prosperity.

Q. Are you going to discuss with the other leaders or Prime Minister Hashimoto this position about China's joining?

President Clinton. The way we have this organized we will be able to discuss whatever we'd like, because we have at least one occasion, and to some extent, two, where we'll be able to sit around and bring up all of our concerns. So the Prime Minister has a lot of interesting things that he wants raised here.

Russia-Japan Territory Dispute

Q. What do you think about the territorial issue between Russia and Japan, and are you going to discuss about this issue with President Yeltsin?

President Clinton. Yes, and I have discussed it on several occasions in the past, always urging Russia to try to resolve this matter with Japan. I believe it's very much in the interest of both Russia and Japan to resolve this matter and to build a strong partnership.

The United States would feel much better about the future of the world knowing that Japan and Russia have the kind of partnership in the East that we have just tried to establish between Russia and Europe and the United States from NATO in the West. And obviously, there will have to be some plan for resolving this, but it will have to be worked out by the Prime Minister and President Yeltsin. But I have raised it before on several occasions.

Q. Would you nominate—[inaudible]—to the Ambassador to Japan soon, or discuss with the Prime Minister?

President Clinton. Yes, I hope to do that.

Q. Next week?

President Clinton. I don't know.

Prime Minister Hashimoto. I'm grateful to all the questioning, because you have finished most of the topics that I was going to raise with the President. [Laughter] But in order to preserve his honor, of course, I have to add something. The President has been raising the issue with President Yeltsin, with the Russians on many occasions about the existence of the territorial issue and the urgent need for solving this issue between Japan and Russia. And of course, I sincerely hope that I can get support not only from the President of the United States but also from the other leaders participating in the summit. And I'd like to ask for cooperation from President Clinton on that account, too.

Thank you very much.

NOTE: The exchange began at 3:45 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency/Tech Center. In his remarks, the President referred to President Boris Yeltsin of Russia. Prime Minister Hashimoto spoke in Japanese, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto of Japan in Denver, Colorado Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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