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Remarks at a Welcoming Ceremony for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan

April 28, 2015

The President. Good morning.

Audience members. Good morning.

President Obama. Ohayo gozaimasu.

Prime Minister Abe. Ohayo gozaimasu.

President Obama. On behalf of the American people and Michelle and myself, it is a great honor for me to welcome Prime Minister Abe and Mrs. Abe of Japan, one of America's closest allies in the world.

Across Japan over the coming days, our Japanese friends are marking special holidays: honoring their history, celebrating their constitution, giving gratitude for nature's beauty, and expressing their hopes for their children. And now, with this visit, it is a truly Golden Week.

For Michelle and myself, this is an opportunity to return the hospitality that Shinzo, Akie, and the Japanese people have shown us in the past. In Kyoto, Michelle had the honor of playing taiko drums. In Tokyo, I played soccer with ASIMO the robot. [Laughter]

This visit is a celebration of the ties of friendship and family that bind our peoples. I first felt it when I was 6 years old when my mother took me to Japan. I felt it growing up in Hawaii, like communities across our country, home to so many proud Japanese Americans.

Today is also a chance for Americans, especially our young people, to say thank you for all the things we love from Japan, like karate and karaoke—[laughter]—manga and anime and, of course, emojis. [Laughter]

And this visit also has historic significance. In 1960, President Eisenhower welcomed Prime Minister Abe's grandfather, Prime Minister Kishi, here to the White House. They signed the security treaty that endures to this day, committing America and Japan to "an indestructible partnership."

Today we welcome Prime Minister Abe as we broaden our alliance for our time. The United States has renewed our leadership in the Asia-Pacific. Prime Minister Abe is leading Japan to a new role on the world stage. The foundation of both efforts is a strong U.S.-Japan alliance.

Ours is an alliance focused on the future: the security of our nations and the world, trade that is fair and free, and the equal opportunity and human rights of all people, around the world and in our countries as well, including women and girls, because they deserve to truly shine.

Prime Minister Abe, Mrs. Abe, members of the Japanese delegation, we are truly honored to have you here, as great allies and as true friends. Welcome to the United States. Yokoso.

Prime Minister Abe. Ohayo gozaimasu. Good morning.

[At this point, Prime Minister Abe spoke in Japanese, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter as follows.] Prime Minister Abe. Mr. President, Mrs. Obama, Mr. Vice President, Dr. Biden, ladies and gentlemen, I thank President Obama's warm welcome.

Two years ago, when I visited Washington, DC, it was in February, during the cold season of the year. I am honored to be back in this season when we can enjoy the beautiful season—[laughter]—South Lawn of the White House. And I'd like to express my appreciation for the cordial welcome from our American friends.

This official visit to the United States is a special one for me. Since I took office, the top priority of my foreign policy has been to revitalize the alliance between Japan and the United States. And here at Washington, DC, I had a summit meeting with President Obama 2 years ago, and since then, together with Mr. President, we have been addressing issues such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the realignment of U.S. forces.

And now our bilateral relationship is more robust than ever. Our alliance is back on track, and it is even stronger. This official visit is the culmination of what we have been doing for the past 2 years, and it is a great pleasure for me to realize this visit.

The development of Japan-U.S. relationship is not something we could achieve without the history of longstanding bilateral cooperation over the years. There have been the relationship of trusts between the leaders, the relationship of cooperation between the two nations and the governments, and friendship through people-to-people exchange between the two people. All these have played an important role as a key pillar for the relationship.

The world is facing numerous challenges more than ever. Japan will be at the forefront with the United States in addressing regional and global challenges while developing our bilateral ties with the United States in a consistent manner. And I very much look forward to having a discussion with President Obama today on those challenges.

Mr. President, Mrs. Obama, thank you again for the warm and cordial welcome as well as your hospitality.

[Prime Minister Abe spoke in English as follows.]

Thank you so much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 9:21 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House, where Prime Minister Abe was accorded a formal welcome with full military honors. In his remarks, Prime Minister Abe referred to Jill T. Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden.

Barack Obama, Remarks at a Welcoming Ceremony for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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