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Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters at a Meeting on the Japan-United States Structural Impediments Initiative Negotiations

April 12, 1990

Q. Mr. President, how's your eye?

The President. I'll get to that in a minute. But before then, I would -- the purpose of this meeting is that I want to congratulate everybody around this table, and especially Secretary Brady and Secretary Mosbacher and Ambassador Carla Hills, for the fantastic job that all of you did -- working level and then Cabinet level -- on this Structural Impediments Initiative team and on the other specific cases. It was well-done. I can't remember a 1-month period in our relations with Japan like the one between Palm Springs and now in the release of this interim report, and I congratulate all of you. I also want to thank and congratulate on our behalf Prime Minister Kaifu, who certainly has exemplified the best in cooperation and leadership. He's taken some very strong positions there.

Lest any of you feel like you can totally relax, there are some outstanding issues -- and I'm thinking, Carla, of the need to conclude the forest product. And so, I would just say, we've got to finish this agenda. But on satellites and supercomputers and telecommunications, I think we'd all agree, great progress has been made; and I think we ought to salute that progress. And I would say that for Prime Minister Kaifu and the other Japanese Government and party leaders -- they made success on all this -- trade and economic negotiations -- top priority. And had they not done it, I don't believe we would have this progress.

So, my purpose here is to thank each of you, to pay my respects to the Japanese Prime Minister and thank him, but to remind them and to remind us that we're not finished yet and we want to keep on going. And I have a feeling we can get this concluded.

What's your best bet on the time, Carla, on the ongoing negotiations of forest products?

Ambassador Hills. Well, it's difficult, too, to give a specific time. We are making progress, but as you put it, Mr. President, we have more to do.

The President. What she means is everybody keep working. But thank you.

And now, to the one question -- what was it?

The President's Health

Q. Your eye. They said you've got early glaucoma in your eye.

The President. I haven't felt a thing, felt it at all. I notice they said that on a report. I take a drop now, take some kind of drop -- one in the morning and one at night. But the vision is very good on this. The vision thing is working well. [Laughter]

Is anybody interested in structural impediments or -- [laughter] -- --

Q. Will your vision remain good, sir? Sometimes glaucoma is a -- --

The President. Yes, I think so, because they detected very little change over the last year. And literally, I don't even wear glasses for sports anymore, and I used to. So, it hasn't deteriorated that much, they told me, but there is some technical problem where I'm sticking these in there once in the morning and once in the afternoon. But the overall physical was -- like everybody, you finish one and they give you a good report, you feel very, very good.

Japan-U.S. Trade

Q. Mr. President, on SII, what do you say to the people who are complaining that this won't cause any real reduction in the trade imbalance in the short term and that, over the long term, it could actually exacerbate it?

The President. Well, we have things to do on SII, and so do the Japanese. And we're addressing ourselves to the solution to fundamental problems. In our case, it's the trade deficit, and in theirs, it's some fundamental changes in their economy. So, I can't say to the American people that this is an instant short-term formula for success. It is a long-term -- if we go through with all of this, as we intend and as I hope they intend and am confident they do -- I think you're just paving the way for much better trade relations between the United States and Japan and other countries, as well, that trade with Japan.

So, I wouldn't put it on a short-term basis. I'd say this is part of the big picture. And along with this, we've made progress on certain categories of trade that you might say would have a shorter as well as longer term effect.

Q. Are you confident that all the promises made in these talks are going to be fulfilled?

The President. We have every intention of fulfilling everything we've agreed to, and I trust the Japanese do. And we will keep pushing for results. That's what this is all about.

East German Apology for World War II Atrocities

Q. What do you think of the East German Parliament's apology for World War II atrocities?

The President. To be very honest with you, I haven't been briefed on that and, therefore, probably shouldn't comment.

Weapon Shipments to Iraq

Q. How about the Iraqi gun?

Mr. Fitzwater. Lights. Thank you. [Laughter]

Q. Are you concerned about it?

The President. I've just got back from the hospital, so I've not been briefed on either of those two questions. I have expressed my concern about some of the statements emanating from Iraq. Clearly, we cooperated fully and, really, I'd say, took the lead in unearthing a plot to send material to Iraq that should not have been going there in the first place. We stopped that through the able work of our Attorney General's Department and others as well. And we've spoken out against that kind of thing. But, again, on this one, I just have not been briefed on this particular shipment.

The President's Health

Q. Mr. President, can we see the eye drops down here, sir?

The President. Which?

Q. Your eye drops, sir.

The President. Eye drops? [Laughter] I've got a pocketful of medicine here, but let me be sure to pull out the right one. There it is. You see, what you do is you set that to remind yourself -- you all very interested in this detail? [Laughter]

Note: The President spoke at 3:40 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. In his opening remarks, he referred to Secretary of the Treasury Nicholas F. Brady, Secretary of Commerce Robert A. Mosbacher, and U.S. Trade Representative Carla A. Hills.

George Bush, Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters at a Meeting on the Japan-United States Structural Impediments Initiative Negotiations Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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