Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama of Japan
Q. Mr. President, we know you're having this meeting, but can you help us with any comments on the situation in California?
The President. We're going to have a press conference after our lunch. I'd be happy to talk about it then. I talked with Mr. Witt last night at 1 a.m. in the morning our time, so I'm up to date. But I'd rather defer questions until our lunch, until our press conference after the lunch.
Q. Can you tell us if you do expect to make some progress here today given the political situation in Japan?
The President. When the Japanese press come through here, they may say, "Do you expect to make some progress here given the political situation in the United States?" [Laughter] Of course I do.
The President. Do you want to—what did you say? Sure. Should we have a handshake? It's a big table, but—[laughter].
[At this point, the President and the Prime Minister shook hands. Then one group of reporters left the room, and another group entered.]
Prime Minister Murayama. I wish to extend my sincere condolence to the victims of the torrential rain and the flood in California.
The President. The people of California have suffered a lot in the last 2 years. They've had earthquakes, fires, and now floods. It's a very— it's a wonderful place to live, but they bear a great burden.
NOTE: The exchange began at 11:28 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. Prime Minister Murayama 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 Tomiichi Murayama of Japan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/221566