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Radio Address to the Nation on the President's Trip to Japan and the Republic of Korea

November 12, 1983

My fellow Americans:

I'm sure you've heard Nancy and I have been traveling far from home this week. We're visiting two of America's most valued friends in the Pacific, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The great energy and vitality of these free people is most impressive, and we're enchanted by the treasures of their past. We visited the revered and lovely Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. While there, we watched an exhibition of Yabusame, a spectacular equestrian sport dating hundreds of years, where riders gallop at full gait shooting arrows at three separate targets. On Friday I had the honor of being the first American President to address the Japanese Diet, their national parliament.

Today we're in South Korea, a staunch ally recently struck by great tragedy—the downing of Korean Air Lines Flight 007, followed by the assassination of key members of the Korean Cabinet. This has brought grief and bitterness to this part of the world, but it has also brought new determination. Free people, no matter where they live, must stand together against terrorism. We stand united with the people of Japan and Korea.

I will underline our commitment on Sunday when I visit our GI's along the demilitarized zone at the 38th parallel. Our soldiers are serving with our Korean allies to deter aggression from the Communist North. Working with our partners to make tomorrow more prosperous and more secure is what our trip is all about.

America is a Pacific nation with good reason to strengthen our ties in this region. Mike Mansfield, our Ambassador to Japan, likes to say, "The next century will be the century of the Pacific." The citizens of our lands may live 5,000 miles apart, we may be different in customs, language, and traditions, and yes, we are often competitors in the world's markets. But what unites us is more important—our love of freedom and our optimism for the future.

Japan, Korea, the United States, and our many other friends in the Pacific region are building a better tomorrow. Individual opportunity coupled with hard work and reward produces astonishing results. When an entire society pursues these goals, miracles occur. Japan and Korea are classic examples of nations rising from the ashes of war to set standards of economic prosperity that dazzle the world.

There's much talk in the Congress of protecting American jobs, but protectionism is defensive and dangerous. Erecting barriers always invites retaliation, and retaliation is a threat to the one out of every eight American jobs dependent on our exports. At the end of this vicious cycle are higher costs for consumers and lost American jobs, the exact opposite of what we all want.

Let's recognize Japanese and Korean efficiency for what it is. If their products are better made and less expensive, then Americans who buy them benefit by receiving quality and value. And that's what the magic of the marketplace is all about.

The best course for us to take is to take the offensive and create new jobs through trade, lasting jobs tied to the products and technology of tomorrow. I'm confident American products can compete in world markets if they can enter foreign markets as easily as foreign products can enter ours. Currently they can't. Restrictions and tariffs limit U.S. imports into Japan and Korea. In our meetings I've insisted that reciprocity and open markets are vital to our mutual prosperity.

Prime Minister Nakasone and I have agreed on an agenda for progress to reduce and gradually eliminate these barriers. My goal is to help our farmers bring Japanese consumers lower prices for beef, citrus, and other agricultural goods, help our mining, coal, and gas industries export energy resources to a resource-poor Japan, and help our communications industries find new markets for their satellites and other products.

I also encouraged the Prime Minister to open his capital markets to more foreign investment. This will increase demand for Japanese yen, helping its price rise in relation to the dollar, thereby making it easier for the Japanese to buy our products and making our products better able to compete in other markets.

Economic issues are important, but as I noted, freedom and peace exist in an uneasy climate here. We need to remember that Japan and Korea are key allies. They know what living in the shadow of communism is like. It was a Japanese communications center that tracked the cold, calculating words of that Soviet pilot who gunned down the Korean airliner and 269 innocent victims.

Japan contributes about $20,000 for every U.S. soldier stationed here. Both Korea and Japan are committed to help us defend peace, and both are carrying an important share of the military burden. They and we share the same hopes and dreams for our loved ones. We're civilized nations believing in the same virtues of freedom and democracy.

The Williamsburg summit this summer brought together representatives of the Atlantic alliance and Japan in a common strategy for economic growth and military security. It demonstrated that our free world, spread across oceans, can join together to protect peace and freedom.

On this trip, we and our Pacific friends are taking another important step forward together. We've made our partnership stronger, and that means tomorrow can be better for us, our children, and people everywhere.

Until next week, thanks for listening, and God bless you.

Note: The President's address was recorded on November 11 while in Tokyo, Japan, for broadcast at 12:06 p.m. on November 12 in the United States.

Ronald Reagan, Radio Address to the Nation on the President's Trip to Japan and the Republic of Korea Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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