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Remarks of Welcome to Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka of Japan

July 31, 1973

Mr. Prime Minister, our distinguished guests from Japan, and all of our friends from the United States of America:

Mr. Prime Minister, this is not the first time that I have welcomed you to the United States of America, but it is the very great honor that all of us have to welcome you for the first time in your capacity as Prime Minister to our Nation's Capital.

As we meet on this occasion, it is well for us to think back to what has happened over the 25 years since I first visited your country in 1953--what has happened to Japan and what has happened to the world. And despite problems that have occurred during that period, it is a story that is one of the greatest epics of progress in the history of mankind, particularly for your country, and also for many others, as well.

I think, for example, of the change in the relationship between Japan and the United States of America. Twenty-five years ago, and for several years afterwards, it was often said that the relationship between the United States of America and Japan was that of a senior partner and a junior partner, with the United States being the senior partner; or of a big brother and of a smaller brother, with the United States being the bigger brother and Japan being the smaller brother.

The world has changed, and changed very much for the good since then, and I think today your visit marks not only the end of that change in relationship of the past but the beginning of a new relationship which I would describe as that of equal partnership, not only in the Pacific but in the world.

I remember on the visits of your predecessors whom I have welcomed here, we have often spoken of the fact that Japanese-American friendship was the key to peace in the Pacific. That was true then; it is true now.

But, today we go further. We can say that Japanese-American friendship and cooperation is essential not only for us to have peace in the Pacific but for us to develop peace and progress in the world.

We could put this in many terms because of the vitality and strength of your people and, we think, of ours. But also, if we want to think in terms of sheer economic terms, the two nations we represent, Japan and the United States of America, produce between the two of us, despite the fact that we have only 300 million people of the 3 billion people on this earth, we produce over 40 percent of all the world's goods. And so here is the economic strength of the world, and particularly in the free world, represented by its two leaders.

And so today, we welcome you as an old personal friend, we welcome you as the leader of a good ally and staunch friend of the United States of America in the governmental sense, but we also welcome you as a world statesman. That is why our talks today--and, here again, we see the evolution of the progress of the relations between our two countries, rather than just concentrating on bilateral matters between our two nations, which we will, of course, touch upon at great length, rather than just talking about peace in the Pacific, which we will, of course, discuss at great length, we will discuss the problems of our role in the whole world, because each of us must play a role in the world if the world is to be one that has the opportunity to enjoy peace and progress in the years to come.

Japan is a great Pacific power. It is now a great world power. One cannot speak of the "Year of Europe," a new European-American relationship, without also speaking of Japan. One cannot speak of such matters as a new situation with regard to international monetary affairs, or trade, or the rest, as simply being, among the developed nations, a matter for the United States to discuss with its European allies.

It is essential that Japan also participate and contribute, not as a subsidiary partner, but as an equal partner.

And so, in the spirit of friendship, in the spirit which we are now glad truly exists, because of the facts that exist in the world, we welcome you today as an equal partner, working for a cause to which we are equally devoted, the cause of progress for the whole world and for peace for the whole world.

Note: The President spoke at 10:43 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House where Prime Minister Tanaka was given a formal welcome with full military honors.

See also Items 224 and 225.

Prime Minister Tanaka spoke in Japanese. His remarks were translated by an interpreter as follows:

Mr. President, Mrs. Nixon, ladies and gentlemen:

I have traveled across the Pacific to be here in Washington, the city of green forests on the Atlantic coast. I look forward to exchanging views with President Nixon, not only on the problems of the Pacific but also on the problems of the Atlantic.

Since my meeting with President Nixon in Hawaii a year ago, the world has made great steps forward towards the establishment of a "durable peace," thanks to the untiring effort of President Nixon. At the same time, the relations between Japan and the United States have expanded greatly both in breadth and in depth. In the light of these developments, I am deeply convinced that it is all the more important for the peoples of our two countries, as partners, to develop a full grasp of the national characteristics and the social fabric of each other. In this modern age of highly advanced communications and transportation, we should make every effort to deepen the understanding among the nations and the peoples.

On the occasion of this visit, I wish to meet as many of your people as possible and to convey to them the warm and close feelings of good will of the Japanese people towards the American people and thereby strengthen the bond of friendship between our two countries.

Let me now conclude by expressing my deepest gratitude toward the kind welcome given to my party here today.

Richard Nixon, Remarks of Welcome to Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka of Japan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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