Shimoda, Japan Remarks and a Question-and-Answer Session at a Town Meeting.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much, Mr. Mayor and distinguished citizens of Shimoda. My wife and I and my daughter, Amy, have been touched by the warmth of your welcome.
I have already had the honor of an audience with your Emperor, and I have had very productive meetings with your Prime Minister Ohira, but I especially wanted to come to this historic city.
Shimoda is where our friendship first took root and flowered. A century and a quarter ago when our relationship began, Japan was a feudal society on the verge of social revolution. The United States was edging toward a war between the States over the issue of slavery. Neither of us has devised a perfect political system since then, but we share a fundamental belief in freedom and in democracy.
As free people, we share common challenges as well. None is more important today than the energy crisis. Our planet is not producing enough oil to meet all our demands. The industrialized nations like the United States and Japan must face this challenge together, rather than competing with one another for every available barrel of oil regardless of price.
Energy is the principal subject of the summit meeting your country is hosting this week for the leaders of the major industrialized nations. Together we must restrain and reduce our imports. Together we must reduce waste and conserve our precious energy supplies. Together we must find ways to explore and to develop alternate energy supplies and new technologies of solar power and synthetic fuels.
This is a great opportunity as well as a challenge. Each of us must make painful adjustments in our society and some sacrifices in our daily lives. No one ever promised us that freedom would be easy or that democracy can be preserved without effort or without sacrifice.
All nations can learn from the example of the Japanese people in grappling with the complex challenges of development and of change. You've built your nation into an economic super power, but you've preserved the grace and the humanity and the beauty of Japanese society.
Your Emperor made a wise statement to leaders in a poem he wrote in 1966. He said, "Would that the wise voice of the man in the street spoke daily to guide us in the performance of our duties."
I have learned a great deal from the citizens of my country attending town meetings such as this one. In the same way, I would like to learn from your own wisdom and your own experience. I will take your questions now, with great pleasure.
VISIT TO SHIMODA
Q. I am sorry, I don't think I'm a good questioner. Mr. President, I understand you went to a yakitori restaurant last night.
THE PRESIDENT. Yes.
Q. I watched that on TV, and I felt you very close to us. We speak of the good intentions—at the yakitori restaurant, that sort of place I believe you can always get an impression of the true feelings of the people. What I would like to ask is the following: Why did you choose Shimoda for your town meeting? The friendship treaty between Japan and the United States was first concluded here in Shimoda, and there is the exchange of the instruments of ratification was conducted. Gyokusen-Ji, the place you will be visiting today; there you'll find five tombs of Americans, and I believe I can get your true thoughts here.
So, I would like to have your views on why you chose Shimoda for a town meeting.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much for this excellent question.
I was here in Japan 4 years ago, before I was a famous man and when I had an opportunity to meet many people in Japan in a free and friendly way. Last night, without notice to the Japanese security, we went to a private restaurant, the same restaurant that I visited 4 years ago, and there we found a friendship and warmth and exchange of ideas so valuable to me as one of the leaders of a great country in the world.
We wanted to have an opportunity to hear questions directly and to meet with other members of the Japanese community outside of Tokyo, and the obvious place to me was Shimoda, where the good relationship between your country and ours first began more than 100 years ago.
We felt that in Shimoda there was a good historical base for interest in the United States, and that perhaps more than the average Japanese community, you've studied about our own Nation and you would have questions to ask, and you would not be fearful to ask frank and freely what questions actually concerned you.
So, because of the historical relationship many years between us and because we hope that you'll ask very frank and free questions was the reason that I decided to come to Shimoda. The friendship between our two countries is very important to me, and I look forward to having questions now from a group who are very interested in our country and who, I think, would be representative of interested Japanese throughout your great country.
Q. What sorts of games did you play when you were small? And looking at the games children nowadays play in the United States, how would you compare the games; and what are your thoughts?
THE PRESIDENT. When I was a child, I played baseball, which Japanese play extremely well, as demonstrated by your great Mr. Oh, whom I met day before yesterday. I also played basketball. I lived on a farm. I liked to fish and to wander in the woods and streams.
I think the Americans have still maintained this great interest in sports. This morning, quite early, my wife and Amy and I were in swimming about 6 o'clock, and we run every day to stay in good physical condition.
My own belief is that the modern-day American young person is a better athlete than they were when I was a child. The standard of sports is higher, the competition is greater. And I think one of the new sports that has come to our country is soccer or international football. This is a very popular sport now in our country. It was hardly known when I was a child.
I think one of the greatest things that people can do in Japan or the United States is to stay in good physical condition by participating in competitive sports. And I'm glad even at the ancient age of almost 55, I'm still able to participate in athletics and sports.
Q. I'm a housewife and therefore don't really know much about difficult problems. I would like to ask a question about households.
I have three daughters. When they were small, my husband didn't look after them too well. Now that they have grown up—and the one in the middle is 11 years old, the same as Amy—and these daughters, after supper, they would add to the very warm atmosphere at home. We have very good rapport. And my husband seems to be very happy being surrounded by three daughters all the time.
I read in some article, I understand President Carter said that one of the most important women for you is Amy. I'm sure Amy will be getting married some years from now. Then I wonder if you'll feel you want to keep Amy close to you— [laughter] —will not want her to go away to someone else. How do you feel?
THE PRESIDENT. You were much more fortunate than I much earlier. My first three children were boys, and my wife and I were married 21 years before Amy came along. She's very close to us and we would like to keep her at home, of course. However, I think in a few more years, I hope at least 7 or 8 more years, I hope that Amy will find a good young man and get married and move away. We would obviously like for her to visit us often after she does so.
We have a very close family. We now have three grandchildren, two grandsons and a baby granddaughter who was born just a few months ago. So, I think the closeness of families is very important in the lives of every person.
One of the great things that Americans admire about Japanese is the very close-knit family and community relationships you enjoy in spite of a very great technological change that you've accommodated in your own lives. We have many things to learn from you, and I think that's one of the most admirable characteristics that we admire about the Japanese society, your strong families.
ROLE OF JAPANESE YOUTH
Q. Mr. President, I'm a student at-[inaudible]—Senior High School. I'm very happy to see you. I've been looking forward to talking with you today. This is a marvelous opportunity. I want to ask you many questions, but as time is limited, I will ask you only one. However, before the question: I read your book, "Why Not the Best?", and I was very much impressed by it. Here I have your books. I brought them through very tight guard at the entrance, so please give me your signature later.
I know you, like us, try to do your best, and so do I. I think we, the young people, must always try to do our best, like you. So, the question, Mr. President: What do you most expect young Japanese people to do for world peace? Please give me your frank opinion.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much.
I might say, first of all, that your English is perfect, and I want to congratulate you already on doing such a superb job. You've obviously done your best in your study of our language. One of the things that you could do in the future is to be a professional interpreter at the United Nations. [Laughter]
It's very important for young people of this age to learn about other people and learn about other nations on Earth. There is a genuine worldwide hunger, in my opinion, for friendship, for understanding, and for peace.
One of the responsibilities of the leaders of nations like my own and like yours is to search for better degrees of understanding. Not much more than a week ago, I was in Vienna, Austria, meeting with President Brezhnev and other leaders of the Soviet Union to search for ways to control nuclear weapons and to have peace and friendship between the Soviet Union and the United States.
Beginning tomorrow, I will be meeting with leaders from Japan, from Canada, Great Britain, from Germany, France, Italy, and from the European Community, searching for ways for us to have better understanding. It's a mistake, however, for young people like you or for average citizens like those who live in Shimoda to leave this responsibility only to elected leaders. It's very important for you to study and to learn about others and to encourage your own leaders to explore not for war, but for peace, not for subjugation of citizens, but for freedom. And the very wonderful democracy that you enjoy gives us a chance to learn about others in an unrestricted way. A free press is also very important.
I hope sometimes you can come to the United States to visit us. If you come while I'm still President, we would love to have you come to the White House to see my family personally.
Also, I would like to— [applause]
Q. Thank you very much, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT. If you will bring your books up here, I will be glad to sign them when I get through, okay?
Q. President Carter, when you were a child, what sort of strongest reminiscence do you have? What do you recall the most of your childhood?
THE PRESIDENT. I think the strongest memory I have is the closeness of my family. I lived on a farm, and we had a lifestyle much more similar to what it was 2,000 years ago than what it is today. We worked in the fields together, and we traveled very little. I always knew that my mother and father were near, and we were very closely bound together. We had very little contact with the outside world. Later, of course, with the modern technological age, with television, telephones, with travel by all people, the family structure became much less close together. And I would say that's the most vivid memory of my youth.
Also, I lived in the fields and on the farm, in the woods, along the streams. And when I'm now in the White House in Washington, my greatest hunger is to be alone, away from security, away from the press, and to be in the fields and the woods again. Maybe after I am no longer president, I'll have this chance, but we want to keep a strong family in any circumstances.
SOUTHEAST ASIAN REFUGEES
Q. Let me ask you a rather serious question. With the slogan of rectifying the united society after Vietnam war and the Watergate, you came to the White House as the first President from the South after the Civil War. What I was most interested was that you have advocated human rights on the diplomatic front and also zero [base] budget for domestic budget. You've also sent letters to Sakharov in the Soviet Union, and you have also seriously worked for the Agreement of Helsinki. At the same time, you have with unfailing belief of democracy been working visa-vis Nicaragua and Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, and I would like to express my full respect to you.
Now, today we are faced with energy and other important problems. As the leader of the democratic world on questions of assistance to less developed countries, on questions of Vietnamese refugees, I hope you will play an even greater role. And I wonder if I could have some of your views on these questions.
THE PRESIDENT. The people of Japan and the people of the United States enjoy great privileges of freedom and democracy which others do not enjoy. My own belief is that we should take a bold stand in encouraging the basic human rights of freedom and liberty and proper attention to the worth of each individual human being no matter how powerful or weak, no matter how rich or poor, no matter how influential or well recognized they might be. I have tried to let the United States be one of the leading lights of the enhancement of human rights throughout the world.
I have already met twice with Prime Minister Ohira and other leaders of Japan to explore ways to alleviate the present intense problem of the tens of thousands of refugees who are coming out of Vietnam because of oppressive policies of the Vietnam Government.
Of all the refugees who now leave Asia, the United States receives about 70 percent of them, and we also provide very heavily financial resources for the United Nations and for others who attempt to deal with this increasing problem. Japan has been very generous in financial contributions, but because of the homogeneous nature of your own society, Japan has not yet decided to receive very many of the Vietnam refugees.
With the other Western democratic leaders, this will be the number two item on the agenda, along with energy the most important thing we will discuss. I hope that the United Nations will very quickly arouse interest among all 150 nations on Earth to receive a large number or a small number of the refugees and that all of us might focus our criticism or influence on Vietnam to relieve this growing problem at its source.
I think the humane treatment of these refugees is a major responsibility for me as President. We have been taking about 7,000 per month. We have already received 220,000 of the refugees from Vietnam and Southeast Asia. We are prepared to take even more, and I will be joining in with Prime Minister Ohira and others to make this a worldwide effort to alleviate this very serious human problem.
Thank you for your very good question.
Q. My name is Matsaki Imati. I'm a ninth grader. When you were in junior high school, I wonder if you've ever been scolded by your teacher, and what sort of memory do you have and what sort of dream did you have in those days?
THE PRESIDENT. I have not only been scolded by my teacher, I have been severely punished by my teacher with a paddle, which did not hurt me permanently. Perhaps one of the reasons that I ultimately became President was because my teachers were very strict and encouraged me to abide by the rules of the school and also inspired me to study harder.
I think the primary goal that I had in mind when I was a ninth grader was to be a student at the United States Naval Academy and to be a naval officer. My own family has been in the United States for more than 300 years, and neither my father nor his father nor any of his ancestors had ever finished high school and gone to college. And I felt that because of the Government opportunity at the military school, the Naval Academy, that I would have a chance for the first time to get a college education and also to serve in the U.S. Navy.
I did finally go to the Naval Academy, was in the Navy for 11 years, was a submarine officer, then resigned to go into public service, eventually, and became President. So, I think the ambition to get a better education was my major one as a ninth grader.
I received scolding and punishment when I was not a good young boy. I don't think the scolding and the punishment and the discipline hurt me at all.
Q. Mr. President, in this city where Commodore Perry and Harris, who opened up the friendly relations between the two countries, you visited this town on account of that historic background. At the same time in this city of Shimoda, at that time those two distinguished American citizens, Perry and Harris, we learned what was happening in the world from these two distinguished Americans. And as a result, we decided to open our country and conclude relations, friendship with the United States, even during the ban put on by the then Bakufu Shogunate.
Do you know of this particular incident?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I've studied this when I was a student, and in preparation for coming to Shimoda, I have studied even more.
Q. So, today you are visiting Gyokusen-Ji Temple at the entrance of that. We always think about those two distinguished American citizens, as well as Shoin Yoshida, who also made a great contribution to the opening of our country at that particular time.
If circumstances permit, I hope you will slow down your car and pay respects to the great Shoin Yoshida. If you are kind enough to do that, Dr. Yoshida and other distinguished ancestors of ours will feel very happy thinking about the even closer relations we enjoy with the Americans, I think they will enjoy beneath their graveyard.
I sincerely hope that you do that and pay respect to those great ancestors as well.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you. The point you've made is very good. It would be a mistake for Americans to forget about the reception given to the American officials, Perry and Harris, by the people of Japan. We recognize how difficult this was 120 years or more ago, and I want to express my thanks on behalf of the American people for the friendship and hospitality and openness that was offered to the world by Japan at that time, under the most difficult circumstances. And you're absolutely right, it's not equitable to honor Perry and Harris and to forget about Mr. Yoshida and other Japanese .leaders who made the great progress between our two nations possible.
Thank you for this reminder. It's very well that you have done so.
Q. Welcome, Mr. President. My uncle of my husband visited the U.S. when he was 17, and he still lives in Chicago. He's now 84. Three years ago, that particular uncle visited Japan, and at that time he mentioned that the new President is Mr. Carter, and I am very, very happy that ! personally am able to see you like we do now.
At this moment, we have two children, one kindergarten pupil, the other going to primary school. In your household, President Carter, what kind of practices and hope do you express for educating and training your children, including Amy?
THE PRESIDENT. My children and Amy have always attended the public schools, both when I was in Plains, Georgia, the little town where we grew up; when I was Governor of Georgia, living in Atlanta, the capital city of that State; and now in Washington, D.C., while I'm being President.
In addition to the regular classroom opportunities, Amy goes to a class at the local university for specialized training, and she also studies violin under the great leadership of a Japanese master. We have enjoyed yesterday, for instance, a violin class that Amy attended with several other Japanese children.
I think in addition to that, we provide Amy with an opportunity to travel. She's here with us this morning, and she learns about other countries and other people because of my own experiences. I might point out very quickly that a father or mother does not have to be President of the United States to provide young children with an opportunity to learn more about the world.
She also learns, of course, from television, and from the reading which she does every day. Most of the time when you see Amy, except when she's very active, she'll have a book in her hand and reading on her own initiative. And I think this combination of schoolwork, family travel, in the home reading, and broadening one's life through violin or piano lessons is all a very good combination for education.
Thank you very much for letting me tell about my favorite daughter.
Q. One year from last, we received a student from the State of New York and had him stay in my house. So, I feel very intimate with the Americans.
A few days ago, a well-known actor, John Wayne, passed away. According to what I've heard, he is one of the representatives of great Americans. What he didn't like, according to the newspaper, was the colored people. You have welldeveloped democracy in your society. Still, currently, many people, including the educated people, may have some misunderstanding about the color of the people. In some regions of your country, even the overt form of segregation is practiced, as I was told. What do you think about such practices?
If, Mr. President, if you are not married—suppose you are not married and suppose you fall in love with a colored girl, what would you do? Would you marry her without any resistance?
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much.
There has been a time in our country when there was a great official and unofficial discrimination against black people and others, other people of color. Even 25 years ago, this was prevalent in the southern part of the United States, where I lived. This was something inherited from the early years of our Nation, when slavery was part of our societal structure and was approved by the laws of our Nation.
It was very difficult for us to make this change. But it was one of the most wonderful changes that has taken place in our own Nation, and I hope that what we have accomplished in the United States in the last 25 years will be an inspiration to others where racial discrimination is still practiced. I can't say that this attitude has been completely removed from the hearts of our people, but we have made great progress.
As far as intermarriages are concerned, I've never been in love with any other woman except my wife. But I would hope that in the true spirit of equality and in an .absence of racial prejudice, that I would not let the color of a woman's skin interfere with my love for her if I felt that way—and marriage, of course, would be part of that relationship if the circumstances should permit.
I hope my wife will forgive my answering the question this way. It is a hypothetical question, Rosalynn, and I have no intention to leave you for another woman.
Q. Thank you very much, Mr. President. I like the U.S. more because of your answer.
THE PRESIDENT. I might add that we still have our problems, and we don't claim to be a perfect society. You have a very homogeneous society in Japan with very little differences among races. Our country is a nation of people who come from every country on Earth. Ours is a nation of immigrants. Ours is a nation of refugees. We have hundreds and hundreds of different languages spoken in our country, but we are bound together with a common purpose under a democratic structure of government based on human freedom. And it makes it difficult for us in some ways, but I think it gives strength to our Nation, because this diversity of background and heritage and language and interest and history can be melded together in such a good way as it presently is in our Nation.
We are not perfect. But we are making progress.
Q. I am 78 years old. Mr. President, it is indeed a great honor beyond any expectation to have this opportunity of meeting you and exchange views with you. I will carry that to my posterity, and I certainly welcome Mrs. Carter, as well as your daughter. It is a great honor for citizens of Shimoda to receive you. This will clearly tell us the great benefit of the free and democratic society.
I would like to ask, Mr. President, as one—I'm talking about you—who was brought up in the farms, what do you produce in your farm at the present time?
THE PRESIDENT. My State produces more peanuts than any other two States in the Nation, and on my own farm, this is the number one crop. We also produce on our farms, cotton, corn, swine, cattle. In the past, we've produced poultry-chickens—and we produce all kinds of feed grains, some oats, wheat, barley, and rye.
We have pine forests. We produce timber on our land. It's fairly typical of a farm for my own State of Georgia. We have about 60 inches of rain each year, almost two meters of rain each year. We do some irrigating, and near my farm, but not on my farm, are produced other crops like vegetables and tobacco, but most of the crops produced on my farm are very large fields and the crops that I have enumerated to you.
I might point out that we are very proud of the sale of American farm products to Japan. I forgot to mention that we also produce soybeans on our farm. As a matter of fact, there are more acres of land in the United States which produce food for the Japanese than there is land in Japan which produces food for Japanese. So, we are very proud of an opportunity to sell you our farm products, and it gives a great opportunity for trade back and forth between our nations.
Thank you very much for letting me talk about my favorite subject of farming.
Q. Welcome, Mr. President, to the city of Shimoda. I am the mother of a first grader, as well as a year-and-a-half girl. This is a very friendly atmosphere. I really enjoy talking to you, Mr. President.
I would like to ask you, sir, for a young mother like me, who has responsibility for the next generation, as a mother—you are a father, of course, Mr. President—but for a mother, what do you expect us mothers to do for the next generation? That is my question, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT. In a day of women's liberation, it's getting more difficult to distinguish between the responsibilities of women and men. My wife gives me advice on matters of a broad range. She shares the responsibilities with me, both for my business affairs and also political affairs, and so she and I have an equal partnership which I think is very typical of American life.
My own impression in being here in Shimoda and listening to the questions thus far is of the intense interest of this community and Japanese people in general in the family and the growth of children and the cohesion of the family structure. I think to provide support for a husband, to share his burdens and responsibilities and achievements, to keep a stable family group, to accommodate the varied interests and characteristics of children, to give them a better life and a better opportunity than we ourselves had when we were growing up, to try to acquaint them with the outside world and the principles of a good life—those are things which are obvious to me as a father. I'm sure they're obvious to you as a mother.
But ultimately, a nation's strength rests very heavily on the strength of individual families and individual communities. That's the root of our progress and the root of the stability of life which lets us accommodate and overcome serious problems and obstacles. That's one of the reasons Japan has made such great progress; that's one of the reasons that you are one of the greatest nations on Earth, the strong family.
U.S. TRADE WITH JAPAN
Q. It is indeed a great honor to be able to see you, Mr. President.
I am with a farming family; I'm 25 years old, producing the Japanese tangerine, oranges.
In Japan, at this moment, we have the import agriculture products such as oranges. As a result of the development of the agricultural products import, we tangerine producers are having hard times because of the import of oranges and other agricultural products from the U.S. So, in this connection, I would like to have your thinking about this.
And on top of that, if I get unemployed, can I be employed on your farm in the U.S.? What would be the wages? Will that be enough to support myself, my wife, and my children? I will be happy to be employed by you with that wage, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT. First of all, let me say that we are very careful in our export policies toward Japan to have a minimum disruption of the market for your own products.
We actually sell to Japan very little citrus products, including oranges and tangerines, grapefruit, lemons. You have a total production of 3 1/2 million tons of citrus products within Japan itself.
The present target which has been negotiated between Japan and the United States says that by 1983 the American citrus sales to Japan would be not much more than 2 percent of the total that you produce here in your own country. And we are trying to focus the sale of American citrus to Japan during the months when your own production is least, I believe, in June, July, and August.
So, we have to have some markets for our products in Japan in order to purchase the tremendous amount of products that we buy from your factories. But in negotiating these agreements, we try to keep the disruption of your products very minimally. I think the amount of citrus that is being sold or will be sold in Japan from the United States has been greatly exaggerated.
I don't operate my farm now. When I became President, I wanted to break away from any direct relationship with business. So, I rent my farm to others for a fixed amount per year. My own belief is that you will be much more prosperous in Japan growing superb tangerines than you would to come to my very poor farm in Georgia and to produce peanuts.
Q. Mr. President, I'm a charter member of the Shimoda Lions Club. I overheard that you are one of the members of the Lions Club. Since you have assumed your office, have you been there regularly, attending the club meetings, or are there other activities that you engage in?
In Japan, there is a saying, namely, that if you do it once, you will do it twice. So, I hope that you will win your election next year and come back to Shimoda very much.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much. I'll remember your good wishes very carefully and with gratitude.
My father was a charter member of the Plains Lions Club. When I resigned from the Navy, I became a member the first week I was home. I later became Tail Twister, president of our club, zone chairman, deputy district governor, ultimately a district governor of the Lions Clubs in District 18-C, and chairman of all the Lions Clubs in Georgia, about 200 of them. But the Lions Club meant a great deal to me, and it gave me a chance to learn about public service without holding public office.
I do not attend the Lions Club now because of the duties of President and because I represent also Kiwanians and Rotarians and others as well as Lions. But when I return to Plains after serving as President, I intend to be again an active member of the Plains Lions Club.
Q. Mr. President, I am a pupil, a sixth grader, and I am 11 years old, as is Miss Amy.
Mr. President, you are a great man today, but what kind of a child were you when you were growing up?
THE PRESIDENT. It's hard for me to answer that question.
I was mischievous. My parents had to exert very good discipline on me, particularly my father. I had to work very hard, but not any harder than the other members of my family. I played with neighbors, although living on an isolated farm, we didn't have very many neighbors then. Most of my neighbors were black children, who were my only friends when I was a little child. I went to school about 2 1/2 miles away in a tiny town called Plains, which has a total population of about 650 people then and now. Plains has not grown in the last 50 years.
I had a good life as a child and was very close to my mother, father, and my brothers and sisters. I might say I had great opportunities to improve myself, as do you, and I was, I would say, a typical child with problems and achievements-some good, some bad. And I turned out to be President, because in our country, as in yours, there is no limit on what an individual human being can be, because our Government gives us freedom and because in our society, each person has equal opportunity, and we look upon every person as a very valuable part of the Nation.
So, that's one of the great things about being in a democracy, in a free nation like you enjoy and that I enjoy, that no matter what your background or how poor you might be at the beginning of your life, you can still have a chance to be a very influential person, either in politics or out of it. And no matter what your life might amount to at the end, it can still be a full and gratifying life.
Thank you for letting me describe in a fumbling way my life as a child. It's been a long time ago. It's hard for me to remember all about it.
Q. President Carter, I am sure you respected your father. What sort of man was he? When you were a small child, what sort of thing did your father use to tell you?
THE PRESIDENT. Until I was 13 years old, I was the only son in the family, and my father and I were very close. We worked in the same field, we hunted together, fished together, walked in the woods together, went on short trips together.
My father was a very stern father in that when he spoke, I jumped. I didn't disobey him. When I was an unruly child or when I hurt my sisters or did something improper, my father would punish me for it.
My father was a hard-working man, very honest. He died in 1953. My mother, who is 81 years old this year, is still living, and she was also a great influence in my family. My mother was a registered nurse, and my father was a farmer. But both my parents were very important factors in my life and guided me, I think, in a proper way.
I might say, I won't have time to take another question, I don't believe, but I would like to close by making these comments.
This has been an exciting experience for me. I feel a warmth of friendship and good will from you that's typical of the attitude of Japanese people toward Americans. And it's very exciting for me as President of a great country to have that sense of our partnership and our common views toward the basic elements of human life.
We occupy positions of leadership in the world, and we have a great responsibility on us—not only Presidents but fathers and mothers, those who grow tangerines, those who go to school to learn about how we can be a credit to our country in our own individual lives and our own individual achievements.
Although many things change in a modern world with jet airplanes and television, the most important things do not change—love in a family, honesty, friendship among people, a desire for peace, a respect for one another, the 'beauty of nature, the reaching for a better life for children than parents had—those kinds of things never change. And I'm very glad to be part of Shimoda today and to have your questions covering such a wide range of interest.
I hope that through television, the people of Japan will see that what started here 125 years ago as the first little tiny seed of friendship between our two countries has now grown into an enormous tree of very wonderful friendship that can be an inspiration to our own people and an inspiration to peace-loving and freedom-loving people around the world.
I'm very proud and thankful to be with you, and I thank you for a chance to let me hear from you and to let you hear my voice as a leader of a great nation visiting the people of another great nation.
And now I would like to make a presentation to your community, and I'd like for the mayor and other officials to come to the stage, if they will.
While I'm here at the microphone, I would like to say that this is a plaque-I wrote some words very carefully on the plane coming over to Japan, and they've now been inscribed on this plaque—and I hope it will remind you of my visit with you. And now I'd like to go over and unveil the plaque, which you might keep in your own community.
I might read it. It says, "Here in Shimoda, friendship between the Japanese and the American people first took root and flowered. We have built together a lasting friendship based on trust and understanding. Our partnership offers hope that all peoples will one day learn to live together in brotherhood, prosperity and peace." And it's signed Jimmy Carter.
Thank you very much.
Mayor AOKI. We have just received this message commemorating the President's visit to Shimoda, and also this is a replica that shall be kept in our minds forever. And I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart, Mr. President.
I would also like to take this opportunity to say a few words of thanks.
Commodore Perry led the flagship fleet and surprised the citizens of Shimoda. Thanks to that, the doors to Japan were opened and the foundation for modern Japan was established.
President Jimmy Carter of the United States of America has led the fleet of Mrs. Carter and Amy, your most loved child, to come to Shimoda. On the 27th of June 1979, a new bridge of friendship starts in this small town of Shimoda, and in front of us, President Carter stands with us, sharing the same feeling and breathing the same air with us.
The United States of America and Japan have come so close together, so friendly, and we have established such great mutual understanding, and I would like to thank you for this wonderful town meeting. The great honor bestowed on us today will be handed down for posterity forever.
Mr. President, Mrs. Carter, and Amy, let us meet each other again once more in Shimoda.
Note: The President spoke at 11 a.m. in the Shimoda Middle School gymnasium, following an introduction by Mayor Yoshio Aoki. The participants in the town meeting spoke in Japanese, and their remarks were translated by an interpreter.
Following his tour of Gyokusen-Ji Temple, the President returned to Tokyo.
Jimmy Carter, Shimoda, Japan Remarks and a Question-and-Answer Session at a Town Meeting. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/249214