Jimmy Carter photo

Interview With the President Question-and-Answer Session With Yoshio Hori and Yoshiki Hidaka of the Japan Broadcasting, Corporation (NHK).

June 20, 1979

MR. HORI. I'm most grateful to you for giving us this opportunity to make an interview with you as part of the very tight schedule between Vienna talks and Tokyo summit.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, it's a great opportunity for me to be able to talk to the Japanese people, and I look forward to the interview.


MR. HORI. Thank you. Anyway, first of all, please accept our congratulations on the successful culmination of the SALT II talks. And the signing of the accord is a tribute to many years of your effort. We Japanese wish to express deep satisfaction and thanks to you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. We believe that this new agreement between ourselves and the Soviet Union will not only help our own two nations to have a more peaceful future, but also will be a great contribution to the entire world to limit armaments and to lead towards peace.

MR. HORN. And this question: Could you tell me a little more completely the future image of the world peace and prospect of disarmament?

THE PRESIDENT. There is no doubt that both we and the Soviet Union are determined to control armaments in the future. Both nations will stay strong. My most important responsibility is to guarantee the security of the United States of America and also the security of our allies and to protect our interests. So, within a realm of strength, we will reduce armaments on both sides, particularly nuclear weapons, and we hope that other nations will join us in this commitment in years to come.

MR. HIDAKA. How is your feeling right now, after returning from meeting with Mr. Brezhnev down there?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I'm very pleased with the results of the Vienna talks, but now I'm thinking almost exclusively about the happy prospect of being in Japan. This is a very exciting thing for me. I don't think there's any doubt that our close relations with the people of Japan and the prospect for the economic summit there is one of the most important and exciting responsibilities that I have.


MR. HORN. For keeping world peace, Japanese people are more concerned with the elimination of the causes of war rather than the maintenance of the balance of powers. What kind of role do you expect for Japanese involving world peace?

THE PRESIDENT. The close relationship between the United States and Japan is important not only for the economic prosperity of the people of both countries, but it's also a great stabilizing factor in maintaining world peace. For any other nation to look upon this close friendship and close alliance in trade, commerce, culture, security, science, education, tourism, between the United States and Japan, it gives the accurate feeling of mutual strength and mutual confidence, and, I think, tends to provide peaceful relationships throughout Asia and, indeed, throughout the world.

So, the sharing of all these experiences and all these prospects for the future 'between the United States and Japan is certainly a major contributing factor to peace.


MR. HIDAKA. Now you completed two historical things—one in the Mideast, now talks with the leader of Soviet Russia. And Japanese people now expecting your coming to Japan. What do you now have in mind to accomplish when you come to Japan, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I think the highlight of my visit will be personally to meet the Emperor. I'm excited about this, and have long had a great admiration for him as a center of the Japanese nation, and as the image of the preservation of the beautiful culture of Japan and the dynamic growth of Japan in meeting modern challenges and modern opportunities. He's an admirable person from the viewpoint of Americans, because he's a beautiful poet and also, of course, because of his superb accomplishments as a marine biologist and because of what he represents accurately in the character of the Japanese people.

So, I would say meeting. the Emperor is something that I look forward to with great anticipation; also, to renew my friendship with Prime Minister Ohira, whom I've met on my one brief visit to Japan in 1975, and who came here in May to explore possibilities for alleviating all the problems between us and for shaping a more firm future between Japan and the United States. And I think one of the most enjoyable prospects is just to get to know the Japanese people. I will be bringing my wife, Rosalynn, and my daughter, Amy, to Japan, and we hope to take every opportunity to have personal contact and establish personal friendship with the people of Japan.

Obviously, the economic summit is a great tribute to Japan and is a recognition of the economic and social and political leadership of Japan in the councils of world governments. And this is a great tribute to the present and past leaders of Japan that the economic summit is being conducted there.

We will be exploring the problems of energy, the monetary system, trade, commerce, security. I think the most important single issue to be resolved in Japan at the economic summit is probably that of energy. And we look forward to exploring new ways to deal with this challenge for us all.


MR. HORI. At the talks in Tokyo, you will introduce a proposal for the solution of the energy problem?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. I have a great advantage in being there 2 days before: the economic summit begins. So, Prime Minister Ohira and I will be discussing a common program to present to the other leaders.

Obviously, we will have to explore new ways to conserve energy, to cut down on waste, and to reduce our dependence in the future on imported oil. We'll also have to evolve a common approach to the oil-exporting countries, so that they will provide a stable supply of oil and minimize the increase in prices in the future.

There's a wonderful opportunity for us to explore other forms of energy—coal, solar power, and technological advances in which Japan and the United States and others can cooperate in the future. What we want is predictability, conservation, new sources of energy, and closer consultation and cooperation between our countries. And these are some of the ideas that I will be exploring first with Prime Minister Ohira and then with the other leaders of the nations who will be at the economic summit.

MR. HIDAKA. You said joint proposal with Prime Minister Ohira?


MR. HIDAKA. You have all the makeup, concrete proposal, or you are in planning session? Can you elaborate on that a little before your coming to our country, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, we have obviously explored many of these ideas in preparation for the economic summit. But I'm sure that he and I will make them more firm and more concrete during the 2 or 3 days immediately before the summit conference. And I will look forward to learning from him as a great leader, and I'm sure that the Japanese leaders will want to know the American position also before the economic summit commences. But all the nations involved in this summit will be sharing these proposals and decisions, and I believe that the Tokyo meeting will go down in history as the first multinational conference at which the energy question has been explored so deeply. It's long overdue. This is a wonderful opportunity for us all.

MR. HIDAKA. Any kind of the binding of the proposal for the conference—I mean, just in binding.-

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, obviously, no nation can impose its will on the other. But we have already made a decision during 1979 to reduce our dependence on imported oil by 2 million barrels per day, all of us nations put together. And we will then be exploring in Tokyo how to extend this conservation effort to 1980 and to subsequent years and, most importantly, how we can cooperate with each other in building up the supplies of alternative sources of energy in addition to the fossil fuels.

MR. HORI. What about nuclear energy?

THE PRESIDENT. Our country derives about 12 percent of all electricity from atomic power. And we will obviously have to rely upon atomic power in the future years as well. In nuclear power and in the use of coal, we obviously will want to increase the safety of both sources of energy and also to reduce any damage to the quality of air and water.

So, as we explore additional sources of energy—nuclear, coal, solar—we will want to have more efficiency, more safety, and a cleaner environment.


MR. HORI. Next, Mr. President, I would like to ask your opinion about the relationship between the United States and Japan—


MR. HORI.——particularly in the time of economic problems.

THE PRESIDENT. Never in the history of the world have two nations had such massive economic relations as the United States and Japan, separated by an ocean; we're not contiguous one to another. We look upon the Pacific Ocean not as an obstacle to trade, but as a tremendous highway to let us transfer goods back and forth.

Because of the enormous trade that we have between us, obviously, on occasion, some problems do arise, because we're both highly technological nations, we have advanced science, we have hardworking people, we have innovations, and sometimes we sell the same products and we compete with one another. But in a democracy, when people are free, as is the case with Japan and the United States, we don't conceal problems; we put them on the table, and we discuss them openly and we resolve them.

In a totalitarian country, these problems would never be known, they would fester like a sore. But between us and Japan, we address them without fear and they become highly publicized. But we should never forget that we have tremendous areas of agreement and tremendous areas of common benefit.

So, compared to the benefits and the agreements, the problems are very minor. But the problems are the issues which get publicized.

I think in Prime Minister Ohira's visit to Washington in May, we made great progress in trying to resolve the few differences between us, and we'll continue to make progress on my visit to Japan. But no one should ever forget how close we are together and how many agreements we have. And no one should ever be fearful about our publicly discussing the problems, because that's the way to resolve problems between friends.

MR. HIDAKA. Now many Japanese have been very encouraged by your remarks in talks with Mr. Ohira. And the people notice an upsurge of protectionism in your country, but your administration trying to be nice to us and encouraging us to have good relationship. Do you have ideas much farther to develop a good relationship—I mean, what we can do to promote or to maintain this relationship for both countries?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. Yesterday, I presented to the Congress of the United States the results of the so-called Tokyo Round of discussions, the Multilateral Trade Negotiations. And I have confidence that the Congress will adopt this proposal without delay. This is a guarantee that now and in the future years that protectionist barriers will not be raised around our country or around Japan and other nations.

We want to have maximum openness and freedom of trade, because we can not only compete with one another successfully, but we derive enormous benefits from one another. I think that the trade imbalance has been a problem in the past. There is still some problem there. We buy much more from Japan than we sell to you. But I think that we have recognized this problem. And without disturbing the economy of either nation, we are addressing the problem successfully.

There is still a need for us to continue to explore ways of increased trade. From my part of the country, we produce agricultural products—citrus, beef, timber, plywood, coal—and we export these kinds of products to Japan, along with many others. And, of course, we buy great quantities from you as well. But in both cases, we see our consumers benefiting from a plentiful supply of goods at low cost. We have to protect our own industry, as do you. And this is sometimes creating conflict. But those conflicts are being resolved successfully, and the Tokyo Round of reducing barriers of protectionism is a major step forward in the right direction.


MR. HORI. U.S. policy, foreign policy, on the Far East, from my point of view, has been so practical and flexible since the end of Vietnam war. For us, therefore, it's rather difficult to understand what is the goal of your policy for those in Far East. And in connection with this, could vou tell me your policy on China?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. Our ultimate goal is peace in the Far East. We share this goal with Japan. Our second goal is better relationships among the nations involved—our country and all those who occupy the Far East area of the world. Again, we share the same goal with Japan. We want increased trade, more attention given to basic human rights, to freedom, to democracy, to openness, to the exchange of goods and people. We share all these goals with Japan. We want security for our people. We share this goal also with Japan. The American military presence in the Far East will be sustained, and this is good for our people and good for the people of Japan.

We want to share experiences and share ideas and share information with the people and the leaders of Japan.

I've been very pleased that we have improved our relationships since I've been in the White House, with India, with the Southeast Asian nations, with the Philippines, obviously with the People's Republic of China. We have tried to strengthen the ASEAN nations, as well as an organization, recognizing their independence, and strengthen our ties with New Zealand and Australia. We will maintain the stability of the Korean peninsula.

My own judgment is that history will show the great benefits of normalized relationships with China. We have not let the well-being of the people of Taiwan suffer. My belief is that those citizens of Taiwan will still be secure. We'll still have trade with them, recognizing the People's Republic of China, however. as the Government of China.

I think that our new relationship with China can be a stabilizing factor, and not only between China and Japan, China and the other Asian nations, but also between China and the Soviet Union. We want to see peaceful relationships between countries who have in the past been potential adversaries.

So, in every way, I think that our place in the Far East is sound and firm and more stabilizing, more peaceful, and will give a better life to the people in that region of the world.

MR. HIDAKA. In connection with that, some people, particularly in the Congress, encourage us to build up much more military power to assist you. Can I ask you on that point, do you encourage us to do it or is it completely our business, so you have no interest in commenting on that, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. We enjoy the alliance and the sharing of responsibility for security with the people of Japan. But the level of your defense commitments is a domestic matter, a decision to be made by the Japanese people. We trust your judgment, and we have full confidence in you.


MR. HORN. After the summit in Tokyo, you are going to visit Korea.


MR. HORI. Have you any schedule to meet with Mr. Kim Dae-jung in Korea?

THE PRESIDENT. I will be meeting not only with President Park but also the leaders of the opposition, both within the government, the religious leaders, and others. This has been my custom whenever I visit a foreign country, and I look forward to continuing this custom in Korea.

MR. HIDAKA. It mean opposition party people in Korea, you are going to meet them?


MR. HIDAKA. It might be a very popular action in Japan and other countries iii Asia, I think.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, we are committed, as we have been for the last quarter century, to peace and stability in the Korean peninsula, and we have no intention of abandoning this responsibility. What we would ultimately like to see are the leaders of North and South Korea negotiating directly with one another, either with or without our own presence, to reach an accommodation with one another. But until that happy event can come to be, we will continue to maintain an American presence there to keep the balance of power intact within the Korean peninsula to ensure peace.


MR. HIDAKA. Do you have at this time any desire to visit China soon?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I would like to visit China within the next 12 months or so. I will not go this year. Our Vice President will go to China this year. But I have received an invitation to visit China from Chairman Hua and Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping, and I have told them that when the occasion permits, hopefully within the next 12 months, I would like to visit China.


MR. HIDAKA. On general terms, you are optimistic on the relationship between Japan and the United States.

THE PRESIDENT. Very much so, yes.

MR. HORI. No future danger or any trouble, anything you do not foresee or anticipate?

THE PRESIDENT. No. We are independent countries, each making its own decisions. But we have so many things in common, and we have such an easy ability to communicate with each other and to address any disputes or differences immediately, before they become a crisis, that I can see no possibility in the future of serious differences arising between our two countries.

MR. HIDAKA. Personally, I got surprised so much you know about Japan and the Emperor. How did you learn that? Did you know before? Did you make a quick study, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I have been interested in Japan and have studied about Japan for many years. I was in Japan briefly in 1975. And because of my own responsibilities as President of the United States, I've long recognized the importance to us of Japan. We have many visitors here from Japan, and we have many Americans who go to Japan. So, because of our common interests, this has aroused my own study of Japan.

I have been interested in the Emperor's poems—not only himself, but his grandfather and others—and how simple and beautiful they are as expressions of the basic philosophy of the Japanese people-a quiet dignity, a reverence for the historical characteristics of the nation, a willingness to accommodate change with assurance and confidence and hard work and dedication, a peaceful inclination toward one another, a calmness and grace, an awareness and an appreciation for the natural beauty of the Earth. These kinds of expressions in the Emperor's poems have been very interesting to me.

In addition, .his accomplishments as a scientist have been of great interest. I have a scientific background myself, and so that's one reason that I'm very excited about having a chance to meet him personally.

MR. HORI Mr. President, could you convey directly to the viewers your message on this occasion?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I'd be glad to. I think I'll look at the people directly.

On behalf of the 220 million people who live in the United States of America, I want to express to the people of Japan. first of all, our great and unswerving friendship, a recognition that we share common commitments, common goals. common problems, common ideals, and a common future. In the area of common security, trade, commerce, education, cub ture, tourism, science—in all these areas of life, we have much in common. In addition, we share a belief in the worth of individual human beings, in democratic principles, in a search for peace, in the worth of each person.

I am very grateful for a chance to come to your great country, to bring my own wife and my daughter. We look forward to seeing as much of you individually as possible, to learning about your beautiful country, so that we can bring back to the United States an even fuller realization of what you have been down through history, what you are today, and the glorious future that I know is in store for the people of the great country of Japan.

The economic summit conference which will be held in Tokyo is indeed a tribute to you, to the great accomplishments of your leaders now and in the past, and of the recognition of Japan's role of leadership in the world. And I'm very grateful to be part of this recognition of your glorious achievements, now and in the future.

So, as a friend, I tell you that we are looking forward to being with you in the next few days. And I believe that both my Nation and yours might very well benefit from the exchange of views between the leaders of our two countries.

Thank you very much.

MR. HORI. On behalf of NHK and its viewers, I'm very thankful to you for taking time to interview with me. And also we extend our best wishes for the successful visit to our country.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much. I've enjoyed the interview very much.

MR. HIDAKA. We are going to cover entirely live your meeting with Japanese people in Shimoda—-

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, good, good.

MR. HIDAKA.——completely live.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, we look forward to that.

MR. HIDAKA. Yes, sir. And I myself am going down there to comment on that. Japanese press quite well received your advance team down there.

THE PRESIDENT. You think it's a good place for me to go and visit? [Laughter]

MR. HIDAKA. Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. I think we're going to have time for some quiet time to eat a meal and to visit with some of the people there. And this is a very exciting prospect for us. I look forward to seeing you there.

MR. HORI. Thank you, sir.

Note: The interview began at 2:07 p.m. in the Map Room at the White House. It was taped for later broadcast on Japanese television.

Jimmy Carter, Interview With the President Question-and-Answer Session With Yoshio Hori and Yoshiki Hidaka of the Japan Broadcasting, Corporation (NHK). Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250300

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