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Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony for Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone of Japan

April 30, 1987

The President. It's a pleasure today to welcome again Prime Minister Nakasone, Mrs. Nakasone, trusted friends; and he is the elected leader of a valued ally, which is also one of the world's great democracies. The good will and cooperation between Japan and the United States has been a tremendous boon to both our peoples. Such relationships as our countries enjoy and benefit from are an historical rarity. Great care has been taken over four decades by political leaders on both sides of the Pacific to mold and create this gem of friendship which is of such immense value.

This hasn't been easy; it has taken effort on both sides. Ours, after all, is a dynamic and changing friendship, failed with all the energy and spirit which one would expect between two robust peoples. Today our governments must meet the great responsibility of overseeing a continued, positive evolution between the United States and Japan. I have confidence in your judgment, and by working together, any problem we face can be solved. Even the closest of friends have differences. Ours is the challenge of keeping trade and commerce, the lifeblood of prosperity, flowing equitably between our peoples. To do that, we must address the current unsustainable trade balance. It has spawned calls for protectionism that would undo the shining economic accomplishments we've achieved together. If history tells us anything, it is that great advances in the human condition occur during times of increasing trade. Conversely, it is also clear that interruptions in international commerce result in stagnation and decline.

We recognize the domestic political pressures that play a part in the decisionmaking processes of our respective countries, but we also know that it is the long-term well-being of our societies that must govern. Today the trading system is in need of adjustment, yet the answer is not in restrictions, but in increased opportunities. So together, let us seek positive solutions. As we've learned, progress will not happen on its own; tangible actions must be taken by us both. Mr. Prime Minister, I have heard outlines of new measures that you are considering, and I'm most encouraged by what appears to be a commitment to policies of domestic growth and the expansion of consumer demand in Japan—something we strongly believe will have a positive effect on the trade balance. I look forward to exploring these new approaches with you in our meetings today.

Americans firmly believe that the free flow of goods and services, accentuated with head-on and above-board competition, benefits everyone. We would like to see Japan, for example, open its markets more fully to trade and commerce. Many of our companies in manufacturing, agriculture, construction, and the financial and high technology industries want to fully participate in the Japanese market. This, too, would also provide the benefits of lower prices in Japan. Mr. Prime Minister, there's an unseen bridge that spans the vast Pacific, a bridge built by the hard work, commercial genius, and productive powers of our two peoples. We must strive to see that it is maintained in good order and is traveled with equal intensity in both directions, carrying the goods and services that improve lives and increase happiness.

The bridge to which I refer rests on the firm bedrock of democracy. Today free government and free economics complement one another and are the basis of our Pacific partnership. Today Japan and the United States, with two of the world's most powerful economies, share heavy global responsibilities. Your country's skillful leadership at last year's Tokyo summit demonstrated the role Japan now plays. As we prepare for the upcoming summit in Venice, our two governments will continue working closely together, fully appreciating that our cooperation has much to do with prosperity enjoyed throughout the world. The summit is an opportunity to look to the future, to ensure the peace and prosperity of the last 40 years is maintained and strengthened as we approach the new century.

Similarly, our mutual dedication to the cause of peace and security has had vast implications, especially on the Pacific rim, where the upward thrust of human progress is so apparent. We're well into the third decade of the 1960 U.S.-Japan mutual security treaty, and we look forward, Mr. Prime Minister, to continuing and expanding upon our security cooperation.

I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak directly with Prime Minister Nakasone on the bilateral and international issues. It was a hundred and twenty years ago, since Commodore Perry first arrived on the shores of Japan. Commodore Perry sent a message, explaining his purpose to be "a mutual interchange of those acts of kindness and good will which will serve to cement the friendship happily commenced and to endure, I trust, for many years." Mr. Prime Minister, in coming to our shores, we welcome you in that spirit. Let us, too, cement the friendship happily commenced so that it will endure for many years. Prime Minister Nakasone, Mrs. Nakasone, we most sincerely welcome you.

The Prime Minister. Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for your warm words of welcome. It gives me great pleasure to make an official visit to the United States at your invitation and to have this opportunity, together with my family, to meet again with you and Mrs. Reagan. Since I assumed the Office of the Prime Minister of Japan, I have consistently made my utmost efforts to strengthen further the friendly and cooperative relations between our two countries. Today the relations are basically strong and sound. In addition to our bilateral cooperation in many areas, the two countries are working closely together to solve the political and economic problems facing the world.

Mr. President, the United States is continuing a genuine effort to build upon the potential agreements reached in Reykjavik on arms control, to lay a solid foundation for world peace. For the success of such efforts, it is now more important than ever to strengthen solidarity among the Western nations. Looking towards the upcoming summit meeting in Venice, I strongly hope that my visit will prove to be constructive from this global perspective, as well. If our two countries are to fully discharge our global responsibilities, it is essential that our bilateral relations develop on an unshakable foundation.

I am deeply concerned that serious frictions on the trade and economic issues are on the rise between our two countries. We should not allow such a situation to undermine the friendship and mutual trust between our two countries. Throughout my visit, I intend to state clearly the policy measures Japan has taken so far and will take in the future for overcoming these problems. At the same time, I will listen carefully to the views of the administration, the Congress, and the people of the United States. I have journeyed across the Pacific Ocean knowing that at times one must sail on high waves. But I hope that my visit, with everyone's assistance, will offer maximum beneficial results for our two countries.

Mr. President, in your inaugural address in 1981, you said, "We have every right to dream historic dreams." With energetic leadership, the American people have built this great nation, constantly moving forward and aspiring to seek out new frontiers. This pursuit of heroic dreams forms the driving spirit of your nation. We, the Japanese people, have built our present nation desiring to occupy an honored place in the international society and determined to contribute to world peace and prosperity. I am determined to exert all my efforts, too, so that our two peoples can dream heroic dreams together, looking towards a bright future for all mankind.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 10:09 a.m. at the South Portico of the White House, where Prime Minister Nakasone was accorded a formal welcome with full military honors. Following the ceremony, the President and the Prime Minister met in the Oval Office.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony for Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone of Japan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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