Joe Biden

The President's News Conference With Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan in Tokyo, Japan

May 23, 2022

Prime Minister Kishida. Well, thank you. We are immensely pleased with President Biden's first visit to Japan as the President of the United States.

United States is Japan's only ally who shares universal values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and rule of law. It goes without saying that Japan-U.S. alliance is the linchpin of Japan's diplomatic and security policy. The Japan-U.S. summit this time, in this context, was more important than ever in respect of two points.

For one, we are currently faced with a crisis that shakes the foundation of international order, which is Russia's aggression against Ukraine. To defend resolutely free and open international order based on the rule of law, unity amongst allies and like-minded countries are required utmost now than any other.

Another thing is that the challenge of ensuring peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region is the most important strategic issue for the international community, and Japan and the United States are sought to take on leadership role. In this sense, we highly value the visit by President Biden to Japan, as it powerfully demonstrates United States enhanced engagement in this part of the region. Also, together with President Biden, we will later make tomorrow's Quad summit a sure success.

Based on this common awareness, today frank and useful discussion took place on matters of international community. First, on Russia's egregious aggression, unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force is totally unacceptable, regardless of location. We reaffirm to respond resolutely together with the international community, including G-7. Also, confirmation was made to support fully the Government and people of Ukraine. We also discussed the impact the Ukraine situation could give on the Indo-Pacific.

For China, we concurred to monitor closely recent activities of Chinese navy and joint military exercise of China and Russia and strongly oppose the attempt to change the status quo by force. In East China Sea and South China Sea—and the Japan and the United States to closely cooperate on responding to China-related issue, including human rights.

Also, we affirmed that our two countries' basic position on Taiwan remains to be unchanged; and underscored the importance of peace and stability of Taiwan Straits, which is an indispensable element for peace and prosperity of international community; and called for peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issue.

On D.P.R.K., sharing the serious concern over nuclear and missile issues, including the launch of ICBM-class ballistic missiles. Japan and the United States and Japan-U.S.-R.O.K. to cooperate even more closely was affirmed.

Toward immediate resolution of abduction issue, I reiterated my request for full understanding and cooperation. President Biden extended his strong support. After this, President Biden will be meeting with family members of the abductees.

At a time when regional security environment is becoming more severe, with President Biden we affirmed the need to quickly reinforce the deterrence and response capability of Japan-U.S. alliances. I stated my determination to fundamentally reinforce Japan's defense capabilities and secure a substantial increase of its defense budget needed to effect it. President Biden strongly supported my determination.

We also concurred to expand and deepen security and defense cooperation between Japan and the United States. Further, President Biden reiterated his commitment to Japan's defense. And to make sure that extended deterrence will remain unwavering, we concurred to keeping close touch, including on the ministerial level, between our two countries.

In addition, to alleviate impact on local communities of Okinawa and others, we also concurred to steadfastly implement U.S. Forces in Japan realignment, including construction in Henoko of replacement facilities of Futenma Air Station.

And because situation around the nuclear weapons are getting severe, we also concurred at once realistic and effective efforts on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation and work toward the world without nuclear weapons.

Engagement in the Indo-Pacific by the United States, and especially in the economic order, is becoming ever more important. Japan welcomes the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework—IPEF—by President Biden, and will participate and cooperate in this initiative. Having said so, Japan hopes to see the United States return to the TPP from a strategic perspective.

Also, in order to expand and deepen Japan-U.S. economic cooperation, we agreed to hold the ministerial-level Japan-U.S. Economic Policy Consultative Committee, the so-called Economic 2+2, coming July. Further, we concurred on cooperation in economic security, including the development of advanced semiconductors and specific cooperation regarding space.

With Russia's aggression of Ukraine severely damaging the situation over energy and food, we confirmed that we shall respond through coordination with the G-7 and like-minded nations, as well as with international organizations. Through such cooperation, Japan and the United States hopes to engage in initiatives to realize a sustainable and inclusive social economic environment.

Regarding the new form of capitalism, which I am proposing, President Biden reconfirmed his strong support. By cooperating with President Biden, who is promoting policies that focus on the middle class, we hope to create a major global trend of common economic policies among major countries.

We also exchanged views on global health, cancer research, climate change, protection and promotion of human rights and democracy, and other global challenges, and agreed that our two countries should lead efforts of the international community in such areas.

Further, I expressed the necessity to reform and strengthen the United Nations, including the Security Council, which bears an important responsibility for the peace and security of the international community, and gained President Biden's support. The President stated that the United States will support Japan becoming a permanent member of a reformed Security Council.

"The Pacific Ocean does not separate Japan and the United States. Rather, it unites us." Those are the words delivered by President Kennedy to Prime Minister Ikeda, which resonate with amplified weight in today's context.

I conveyed the importance of human resources development and people-to-people exchange towards a free and open Indo-Pacific, and President Biden concurred.

Japan will hold the Presidency of the G-7 next year. As the world faces an unprecedented challenge caused by Russia's aggression of Ukraine and the heightened risk of use of weapons of mass destruction, at next year's G-7 summit, I hope we can demonstrate the will of the G-7 to resolutely reject aggression by force, threat by nuclear weapons, and attempts to overturn the international order with a strength that will make a mark in history.

As the Prime Minister of Japan, the only country to have ever suffered atomic bombings, I believe there is no other venue as fitting as Hiroshima to demonstrate our commitment to peace. I hope that we can vow to the world that mankind will never cause the catastrophe brought about by nuclear weapons, that President Biden and other leaders of the G-7 will together confirm in front of the Peace Memorial our solidarity to defend peace, global order, and values. I explained such plans to the President. And we reaffirmed that next year's G-7 summit will be held in Hiroshima and that we shall work together for its success.

Today, as an outcome of our meeting, we decided to issue a joint statement. This statement is the joint strategy of Japan and the United States as we keep in mind the current situation in Ukraine and the strategic importance of the Indo-Pacific and aim to uphold and develop a free and open international order.

Under the current situation of international affairs, which may be described as the end of the post-cold war era, the true value of the Japan-U.S. alliance is being tested more stringently than ever before. In order to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific and to establish a free and open rules-based international order, Japan and the United States will engage in utmost efforts with irreversible resolve. I look forward to furthering our partnership with President Biden.

Thank you, Joe.

Moderator. Thank you very much. I now would like to give the floor to President Biden of the United States of America.

President Biden. Thank you very much, Prime Minister, for that warm welcome you've given me here in Japan.

In recent years, the alliance between Japan and the United States has grown stronger, deeper, and more capable as we work together to take on the challenges—just as important as the opportunities—of a rapidly changing world.

A great example of this: We viewed Japan's lunar rover just coming out here—over out here—before—after lunch. A symbol of how our space cooperation is taking off, looking toward the Moon and to Mars. And I'm excited—I'm excited at the work we will do together on the Gateway Station around the Moon, and I look forward to the first Japanese astronaut joining us on the mission to the lunar surface under the Artemis program.

And tomorrow we're going to meet with the—our fellow Quad partners, Australia and India, for our fourth leaders' summit, and our second time meeting together in person. The Quad is showing the world that cooperation among democracies can get big things done, and I am grateful for your leadership. And thank you for bringing us all together again to keep driving our progress as we advance a positive vision for the future of the Indo-Pacific region.

Today we made several commitments to further increase our bilateral cooperation and to work together to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific that creates opportunity and prosperity for all the people in the region.

Through our comprehensive and reliance—excuse me—and Resilience Partnership, which we announced last year, we're in a situation now that we've invested our cooperation to spur innovation while delivering concrete progress for our people: promoting a secure 5G network and improving internet connectivity for our partners in the region; improving critical infrastructure and strengthening supply chain resilience, particularly on semiconductors, batteries, and critical minerals.

Responding to COVID-19 and building a greater health security and stronger health system is also part of the future, and helping the world prepare for the next pandemic with our new CDC regional office right here in Japan. Cooperating on clean energy and decarbonization to tackle the climate crisis.

And after this, the United States and Japan, together with 11 other nations, will be launching the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. This framework is a commitment to working with our close friends and partners in the region on challenges that matter most to ensuring economic competitiveness in the 21st century: by improving security and trust in the digital economy, protecting workers, strengthening supply chains, and tackling corruption that robs nations of their ability to serve their citizens.

You know, as the two largest democracies, the two largest economic—economies in the democratic world, the United States and Japan, are demonstrating the strength of democracies in action. Our cooperation has been particularly vital in organizing the global response to hold Putin accountable for his brutal war in Ukraine and his attack on the norms and principles that are the foundation of our international order.

Mr. Prime Minister, you've been outstanding; you've been an outstanding partner throughout this crisis. And our unity in the G-7 to impose economic costs on Russia and support the people of Ukraine is sending a strong message about our willingness to defend a rule-based international order.

And I'm looking forward to continuing our discussions at the upcoming G-7 summit in Germany and returning to Japan next year, in 2023, for the G-7 summit. And I welcome the Prime Minister's announcement that the G-7 summit will take place in his hometown of Hiroshima.

Today we also discussed ways to continue to strengthen our security cooperation. The United States remains fully committed to Japan's defense, and we welcome—we welcome—the opportunity to work more closely together in an increasingly challenging security environment. I applaud Prime Minister Kishida's determination to strengthen Japanese defense capabilities as well.

A strong Japan and a strong U.S.-Japan alliance is a force for good in the region. I support the peace and stability that's going to continue and, we hope, increase across the Taiwan Straits; promote freedom of navigation in the East and South China Seas; and to deter the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

So thank you again, Mr. Prime Minister, for your partnership and your friendship. The alliance between our two countries is stronger than it's ever been, and it's as important as it has ever been. I'm looking forward to exploring even more ways that our relationship will help move us toward a future that benefits all people.

So thank you very much, Mr. President [Prime Minister].* And I really, truly appreciate your hospitality.

Moderator. Thank you very much. We will now accept questions from the press. First, Japanese journalist, to be followed by U.S. journalist. That will be the order of the questions.

Those of you who have questions, please raise your hand. For Japanese journalists, I will appoint the journalist, and U.S. journalists will be appointed by President Biden.

Please come to the closest microphone, identify yourself and your affiliation, and please be brief and clear in your questions. Due to infection prevention, please keep your facial masks when you deliver your question.

Now, Japanese journalists, are there any questions? The front row, Yamamoto-san?

Q. TV Asahi. My name is Yamamoto. Prime Minister, President Biden, thank you very much.

First, to Prime Minister: With the Russian aggression of Ukraine, Prime Minister, you've been saying that security of Europe and security of the Indo-Pacific are inseparable. In today's meeting, did you talk about response to China? How did you analyze the current status of the cross-Straits relations? Did the Japanese side or U.S. side explain how U.S. would respond in times of contingency? What was the request from the U.S. side regarding Japanese response to a contingency in cross-Straits situation? Did you explain the defense budget increase or enemy base strike capability? What did you explain in that context, Prime Minister?

Prime Minister Kishida. Well, thank you for your question. First of all, at today's summit meeting, as regards Taiwan Strait issue that you asked, we confirmed that basic stances of two countries on Taiwan remains to be unchanged and underscored the importance of peace and stability of Taiwan Strait, which is an indispensable element for security and prosperity of international community, and called upon peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues.

Well, in the region, security-related environment is getting severer. Unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force, like Russia's aggression against Ukraine this time, should never be tolerated in Indo-Pacific. Above all, in East Asia, it's indispensable to further strengthen Japan-U.S. alliance.

Based on this shared awareness, I have said that—fundamentally reinforce Japan's defense capability. And I stated my determination to fundamentally reinforce Japan's defense capabilities and secure substantial increase of its defense budget needed to effect it. And President Biden strongly supported my determination.

And also from myself, I have said that includes what is called "enemy base strike capability." All the options will be there, not to exclude any one of them. And this is what I said to President in Indo-Pacific region, as well as to ensure the peace and prosperity of the international community, the basis is the cornerstone of which is Japan-U.S. alliance. And toward the further strengthening of the alliance, we would like to remain in close coordination between Japan and the United States.

Thank you.

Moderator. Thank you very much.

U.S. Economy/Foreign Investment in U.S. Manufacturing/Gasoline Prices/Inflation

Q. Thank you, Mr. President. I have a question for Prime Minister Kishida as well. But, Mr. President, I wanted to ask you about the economy. During your trip here to Asia, you've promoted the investments by Samsung and Hyundai. But back home in the United States, Americans are dealing with record-high inflation. The Fed has raised interest rates to try to address those issues. And there are also just enormously high gas prices.

Given the cross-currents of the economy right now—the war in Ukraine, the China lockdowns that we've seen—should Americans be prepared for a recession? In your view, is a recession in the United States inevitable?

President Biden. No.

Q. Why not?

President Biden. Look, you're talking about the significant progress we've made in making sure we don't have supply chain backups—about the 8,000 jobs that Hyundai is going to be bringing to Georgia; 3,000 jobs to Texas from Samsung, $17 billion investment; Toyota, 1,700 jobs in North Carolina on battery technology; the situation where we—at—we've created over 8 million new jobs, where unemployment is down to 3.6 percent, and so on and so forth—as if they're a problem. Imagine where we'd be with Putin's tax and the war in Ukraine had we not made that enormous progress.

We're—our GDP is going to grow faster than China's for the first time in 40 years. Now, does that mean we don't have problems? We do. We have problems that the rest of the world has, but less consequential than the rest of the world has them because of our internal growth and strength.

Here's the situation. And when it comes to the gas prices, we're going through an incredible transition that is taking place that, God willing, when it's over, we'll be stronger and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over.

You see what Europe is doing relative to the importation of Russian gas. You see what—anyway, I won't go through it all, but—and what I've been able to do to keep it from getting even worse. And it's bad. The price of gas at the pump is something that I told you—you heard me say before—it would be a matter of great discussion at my kitchen table when I was a kid growing up. It's affecting a lot of families.

But we have released over two hundred and, I think, fifty-seven thousand—million barrels of oil, I should say. Us and the rest of the world we convinced to get involved. It's helped, but it's not been enough.

And we also find ourselves in a situation where we have food shortages, food shortages because of Ukraine. There are over—there are literally millions of bushels of oil—I mean, excuse me, of grain being held up in Ukraine that would fundamentally impact positively on the market in terms of bringing down food prices across the board.

So we're finding ourselves in a position where we're working very hard with American farmers and American manufacturing—and American agricultural products to provide more fertilizer and a whole range of things.

This is going to be a haul. This is going to take some time. But in the meantime, it seems to me the best thing I can do—in addition to try to get the Middle Eastern countries, including OPEC, to raise their production of oil and move along that route—is to see to it that we continue to grow our economy, create jobs.

And the other thing is, there's a second wave—I know you don't want to talk about it—not necessarily you; people don't want to talk about it right now. And I won't take up the time. But there's a second wave to impact on inflation, in terms of people's daily cost.

If you're able to have childcare at 17 percent of—7 percent of your income, if you're able to be in a position where we were able to provide for a tax cut for middle class people and working class people, et cetera—all those things would be very helpful.

And we—but when we have a 50/50 Senate, it means we have 50 "presidents." And I'm having a little trouble getting some of these things passed. But we're not going to give up. We're going to keep pushing.

China-U.S. Trade

Q. Can I just follow you on one point? [Laughter] Secretary Yellen said recently that some of the tariffs on Chinese imports impose more harm on consumers and businesses and aren't very strategic. Do you share that view? And are you considering taking down some of those tariffs?

President Biden. I'm talking with the Secretary when we get home. I am considering it. We did not impose any of those tariffs. They were imposed by the last administration, and they're under consideration.

Q. Thank you.

President Biden. Thank you.

Q. Prime Minister Kishida, if I may, sir: We're going to be hearing more about this Indo-Pacific economic forum today. What message do you hope that it sends to China in the global market? And do you see this as a potential precursor to some type of trade pact, given the political situation in the United States dealing with TPP?

Prime Minister Kishida. Well, thank you for the IPEF—your question. Well, United States in the Indo-Pacific region is making economic interest known and highly interested, and the very posture shown by the United States is something we highly value in Japan.

Regarding the TPP, we are truly hoping for return of the United States. But even with the TPP, it's important that we proceed with discussions on IPEF. And that attitude of the United States is wholeheartedly welcomed by the Japanese Government, and we would like to support the U.S. initiative.

China right now in the Indo-Pacific region is demonstrating significant economic presence. That's true, but look into the substance of their presence. Are they abiding by international rules? What about development finance? Are they caring about sustainable initiatives? They have to do that, because they are a major power. They have significant responsibility, even in the economic field. They have to live up to that responsibility.

So Japan will cooperate with the United States and, vis-a-vis China, persuade them to live up to their responsibilities to abide by international rules. And we think that such attitude is very important.

Thank you.

Moderator. So, once again, we will receive question from a Japanese reporter. Please raise your hand.


Q. Ikejiri from Asahi Newspaper. Prime Minister Kishida, President Biden, nice to meet you. I have a question once again about IPEF.

It is said that IPEF is different from the framework of TPP, and some are—some members are saying that there is less merit there, benefit. Would the IPEF will be effective a framework? Or in order to ensure the effectiveness for IPEF, what is the role that Japan will be playing, Prime Minister Kishida?

And also, there was expectations expressed for United States to come back to TPP. What was the response you received?

Prime Minister Kishida. First of all, on IPEF, under the leadership of President Biden, shortly after this press conference, there will be official launch of IPEF. That's the plan. Such ceremony is slated to take place.

I said this before, but this is a demonstration of the positive commitment of the United States to the Indo-Pacific. Japan welcomes such steps, and we are in full support. And I'm going to join President Biden to participate in the inauguration ceremony.

And through IPEF, it's important to realize sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the Indo-Pacific. In your question, you asked about the concern of some countries who may think that there is very little merit or advantage to them, but we're going to discuss various matters, not only with the United States, but regional partners, including the ASEAN countries, in order to jointly deliver concrete results.

So this is a venue to engage in positive discussion for cooperation. And through such initiatives, we want to deliver concrete and specific results. And that will serve as specific and actual advantage or merit for those countries.

You asked the question on TPP. From the strategic perspective of U.S. engagement in the international order of the Indo-Pacific, we want United States to be engaged from the economic perspective as well, so our position remains unchanged. We think it's desirable for the United States to return to the TPP.

So Japan hopes to see Japan—to see U.S. come back to the TPP. And during the meeting, I directly communicated our hopes as such to the President. I will not make any further detailed comments since it pertains to diplomatic exchanges.

Moderator. Finally, I invite questions from the U.S. press.

President Biden. Nancy Cordes, with NBC—CBS. Hey, Nance.

[At this point, the reporter approached the microphone.]

Q. Sorry.

President Biden. Dangerous. [Laughter]


Q. Tight quarters.

Thank you so much. I have a question for the Prime Minister, but first to you, Mr. President: We're already dealing with one global pandemic, and you said yesterday that monkeypox is something that everyone should be concerned about. There are a few confirmed cases in the U.S., and some countries are imposing 21-day quarantines for people who are infected or even, in some cases, just exposed. Should Americans expect something similar?

President Biden. No, I don't think so. Look, we've had this monkeypox in the larger numbers in the past, number one. Number two, we have vaccines to care for it—to take care of it. Number three, there is—thus far, there doesn't seem to be a need for any kind of extra efforts beyond what's going on. And so I just don't think it rises to the level of the kind of concern that existed with COVID-19 or—and the smallpox vaccine works for it. So—but I think people should be careful.

Q. Do you think that the U.S. has enough smallpox vaccine stockpiled?

President Biden. I think we do have enough to deal with the likelihood of the problem.


Q. And, Mr. Prime Minister, can you tell us how Japan would respond if China were to invade or tried to take over Taiwan? And how do you hope that the U.S. would respond if that were to happen?

And, Mr. President, if you could tell us how the U.S. is prepared to respond, we would appreciate it.

Prime Minister Kishida. Thank you. On Taiwan: In the summit meeting, it was brought up in our discussions—the situation in the Taiwan Straits.

The fundamental position of Japan and the United States was reaffirmed; there is no change. And the—we asserted the importance of peace and stability of the Taiwan Straits, which is fundamental to international order, and peaceful resolution of the Straits issue should be pursued. We reconfirmed that position.

Now, in Asia, we are against any unilateral attempt to change status quo by force in Asia, all the more so because of such position regarding the situation in Ukraine. We think that unilateral attempt to change status quo is impermissible. That's why we're cooperating with the international cooperation and we decided to participate in the strong sanctions, and we are providing humanitarian assistance.

And in Asia as well, peace and stability must be upheld and defended. And in order to defend peace and stability in Asia, we will drastically upgrade and strengthen our defense capability, and United States is the only ally for Japan. And Japan-U.S. alliance is thus very, very important. We have to strengthen this alliance to defend peace and stability of the region. That's our belief.

And in so doing, extended deterrence and response by the United States must be reliable. We have full confidence in response by the United States, including extended deterrence. And strengthening of Japan-U.S. alliance is very important.

And we truly hope that as many members of the general public will have even deeper confidence on this alliance so that that in turn will lead to regional peace and stability. And I look forward to cooperating with President Biden to that end.

President Biden. Our policy toward Taiwan has not—Taiwan—has not changed at all. We remain committed to supporting the peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits and ensuring that there is no unilateral change to that status quo.

I would add that one of the reasons why it's so important that Putin pay a dear price for his barbarism in Ukraine: The idea that on your station today and every other station in America they're showing bombings of every school—no military purpose—schools, hospitals, daycare centers, all the things, museums—blowing up all the museums. I believe what Putin is attempting to do is eliminate the identity of Ukraine—the identity. He can't occupy it, but he can try to destroy its identity.

And the reason I bother to mention that is, he has to pay and Russia has to pay a long-term price for that, in terms of the sanctions that have been imposed.

And the reason I bother to say this—it's not just about Ukraine: If in fact after all he's done there's a rapprochement met between China—I mean, excuse me, between the Ukrainians and Russia, and these sanctions are not continued to be sustained in many ways, then what signal does that send to China about the cost of attempting—attempting—to take Taiwan by force? They're already flirting with danger right now by flying so close and all the maneuvers they've undertaken.

But the United States is committed. We've made a commitment. We support the "one China" policy. We support all that we've done in the past, but that does not mean—it does not mean—that China has the ability—has the—excuse me, the jurisdiction to go in and use force to take over Taiwan.

So we stand firmly with Japan and with other nations that—not to let that happen. And my expectation is, it will not happen; it will not be attempted.

And my expectation is, a lot of it depends upon just how strongly the world makes clear that that kind of action is going to result in long-term disapprobation by the rest of the community.

Q. Very quickly: You didn't want to get involved in the Ukraine conflict militarily for obvious reasons. Are you willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan, if it comes to that?

President Biden. Yes.

Q. You are?

President Biden. That's the commitment we made. That's the commitment we made. We are not—look, here's the situation: We agree with the "one China" policy; we've signed on to it and all the attendant agreements made from there. But the idea that it can be taken by force—just taken by force—is just not a—is just not appropriate. It will dislocate the entire region and be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine. And so it's a burden that is even stronger.

Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Q. Thank you, Mr. President.

Moderator. Thank you very much. This will be the end of the joint press conference by Prime Minister Kishida and President Biden. Thank you very much for your cooperation.

NOTE: The President's news conference began at 2:16 p.m. at the Akasaka Palace. In his remarks, the President referred to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia; Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India; President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin of Russia; and Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen. Prime Minister Kishida, the moderator, and two reporters spoke in Japanese, and their remarks were translated by interpreters.

* White House correction.

Joseph R. Biden, The President's News Conference With Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan in Tokyo, Japan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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