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Remarks at a State Banquet Hosted by Emperor Naruhito of Japan in Tokyo, Japan

May 27, 2019

Good evening. Your Majesties, Prime Minister and Mrs. Abe, distinguished guests: We are profoundly honored to return to Japan as your nation's first state guests following the enthronement of His Majesty the Emperor.

Your Majesty, the First Lady and I will never forget this gracious invitation, and we thank the people of Japan for their incredible hospitality and warm welcome in this majestic land.

I carry with me the hopes of the American people for the treasured alliance between our countries. And we enter this next phase of our prospering relationship. Americans send their good wishes to the entire Japanese nation on your new imperial era. Congratulations.

This morning Melania and I had the honor of meeting with Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress, right here at the Imperial Palace. Two years ago, when we were last in Japan, we also had the privilege of meeting Their Majesties the Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita. We are deeply grateful to the Imperial Family for their continued friendship.

During this visit, we have also been delighted to spend more time with our very good friends, Prime Minister and Mrs. Abe. Over the past 2 years, we have developed a close and trusting partnership that we greatly cherish.

The name of Japan's new imperial era is Reiwa, or "beautiful harmony." I have been told that it comes from a collection of ancient Japanese poetry called the Man'yōshū. Reiwa celebrates the unity and beauty of the Japanese nation. It also reminds us that in times of change, we can take comfort in our inherited traditions.

In the fifth book of the Man'yōshū, where the term "reiwa" originates, the writings of two poets offer important insights for this moment. The first poet, Ōtomo no Tabito, writes of potential and possibilities of spring. The second poet, Yamanoue no Okura, a good friend of the first, reminds us of our solemn responsibilities to family and future generations. Both are beautiful lessons, passed down from ancient wisdom.

So today we embrace the limitless potential now before us: to cooperate on new frontiers of technology, space, infrastructure, defense, commerce, diplomacy, and many other areas of shared promise. We also remember that our alliance is a rich inheritance and a gift we must pass on to our children, just as the sons and daughters of Japan preserved the ancient poetry of the Man'yōshū.

Your Majesty, in the spirit of beautiful harmony, may we celebrate the many possibilities of this new era, may we remember our duties to past and future generations, and may we protect the cherished bond between America and Japan for our children.

Thank you. And our very best wishes to you, the imperial family, and all of Japan for a peaceful and prosperous Reiwa era. Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 7:45 p.m. at the Imperial Palace. In his remarks, he referred to Empress Masako, former Emperor Akihito, and former Empress Michiko of Japan. The transcript was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on May 28.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks at a State Banquet Hosted by Emperor Naruhito of Japan in Tokyo, Japan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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