The President's News Conference With Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa of Japan
The President. Good afternoon. I'm delighted to welcome Prime Minister Miyazawa to Washington and the White House. I especially appreciate his making this very long journey so soon after he hosted the foreign and finance ministers of the G-7 in Tokyo in discussing aid to Russia.
There is no more important relationship for the United States than our alliance with Japan. We are the world's largest economies, with 40 percent of the world's GNP between us. Our security ties have fostered a generation of peace in the Asia-Pacific region and remain critical to the region's continued stability and prosperity.
As we survey the key security challenges of this decade—supporting reform in Russia, advancing the Middle East peace process, efforts toward reconciliation and peacekeeping from Somalia to Cambodia—it is clear that there must be sustained cooperation between the United States and Japan. To help us meet these challenges I have stressed with the Prime Minister the need for some change in our relations. The cold war partnership between our two countries is outdated. We need a new partnership based on a longer term vision and, above all, based on mutual respect and responsibility.
There have always been three elements to our relationship with Japan: our economic dealings, our security alliance, and our cooperative efforts on global problems. Each is essential to our relationship, and each must serve our mutual self-interests. But during the cold war, security relations often overshadowed other considerations, especially economic concerns. In today's world, as I have often said, the United States cannot be strong abroad unless it is strong at home. And our strength at home depends increasingly on open and equitable engagement with our major trading partners. That requires that we now pay special attention to the economic side of our relationship.
Our security partnership is strong. That relationship has been an anchor for Pacific stability for two generations. It remains fundamental to both our interests. The United States intends to remain fully engaged in Asia and committed to our strategic alliance and our political partnership with Japan.
The Prime Minister and I discussed a range of security matters in the Pacific region that concern both of us, including efforts to gain the fullest possible accounting of our POW's and MIA's in Vietnam and North Korea's refusal to comply with the international nuclear inspections and standards, which causes us serious concern. Because of the importance of our security relationship, we will maintain close working ties between our two defenses. And I am pleased that the Prime Minister will be meeting later today with Defense Secretary Les Aspin.
We also reviewed many global issues that challenge both our nations. In particular, we talked about the extraordinary meeting of G-7 foreign and finance ministers just completed in Tokyo to provide mutual support for Russian economic and democratic reforms. I appreciate the Prime Minister's leadership in convening that meeting. We agreed that the success of these reforms is critical to world peace and prosperity. I believe both our nations understand the stakes and stand ready to work in partnership with President Yeltsin and Russia's other reformers. We look forward to the G-7 summit this July in Tokyo and to Russian participation in the G-7-plus meeting.
But economics were at the heart of our discussions. I stressed that the rebalancing of our relationship in this new era requires an elevated attention to our economic relations. That must begin with an honest appraisal of each country and our mutual responsibilities. The fact is that I have enormous admiration for Japan's economic performance. The Japanese have been pioneers in high quality manufacturing. Their record of innovation and prosperity has been built on hard work and social cooperation. But we and many countries have other concerns as well. I stressed to the Prime Minister that I am particularly concerned about Japan's growing global current account and trade surpluses and deeply concerned about the inadequate market access for American firms, products, and investors in Japan.
I recognize that these are complex issues. But the simple fact is that it is harder to sell in Japan's market than in ours. America is accepting the challenge of change, and so, too, must Japan.
For our part, the United States is making economic renewal over the long term our highest priority. And we are not making the hard decisions many of our trading partners have urged us for years to make, required to put our economic house in order. Our good friends, like Japan, for some time have urged us to do this, and we are attempting to do it, by bringing down our deficit through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases and committing ourselves to long-term investment.
It is important that Japan lead the way to global economic growth. The Prime Minister's newly announced stimulus program is a very good first step toward stronger domestic growth in Japan. But as in America, it must be part of a continued and sustained effort. Japan's goal must be to become one of the engines of growth that creates jobs not only in Japan but throughout the world.
In addition, the Prime Minister and I reaffirmed our commitment to lead the Uruguay round to an early and successful conclusion. We are committed to making the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Organization a vehicle for trade liberalization in the region. And I look forward to the United States hosting that organization in Seattle later this year.
Robust economic growth in America and Japan is in everyone's interest. That's why I hope our own Congress will pass our jobs package and the budget, just as I hope Japan will continue taking steps to boost its own economic growth. But macroeconomic action alone is not enough. I am concerned not only about how much we sell but about what we sell. Our companies that manufacture high-quality, high-wage goods are among the most competitive in the world. If their products are to be a greater part of our exports to Japan, if our workers are to receive their fair share of the benefits of trade, Japan's markets must be more open. United States companies bear the responsibility for providing high-quality and competitively priced goods, but when they do, as increasingly they do today, Japan's markets must receive them.
When our two nations take these economic steps individually and together, we will be the two strongest drivers of global economic growth. That growth is essential not only for our own prosperity but also for the success of the world's many new and emerging democracies.
In order to take these steps, we also need to develop a new framework for our two nations to address concretely our economic agenda, the structural and sectoral issues that can expand growth and increase trade and investment flows in key industries. This framework should also enable us to discuss other issues in which we can cooperate, such as technology and the environment. Within the next 3 months, the Prime Minister and I expect to have a plan for specific negotiations that can then occur on an expedited basis in these areas. The Prime Minister and I also agreed to meet twice annually, including during the C, -7 annual summit. We have agreed to do this because we believe this new partnership deserves our highest priority from the highest levels of our Government.
I view today's discussion with the Prime Minister as a very positive step in our effort to begin a new and mutually beneficial stage in the long and productive friendship between the United States and Japan. Each spring, all who reside here in the Nation's Capital have a wonderful reminder of that friendship. Just blocks from here at the Tidal Basin, the circle of flowering cherry trees, begun as a gift from the people of Japan, are the uplifting image that defines the start of our season of hope.
Today I believe the new partnership we are forging between our nations can help to usher in a season of hope not only for ourselves but for the world as well, the season when we restore economic growth, when we expand economic opportunities in our own countries and elsewhere, when we help to fuel the worldwide movement toward democracy, and when we help to lay the foundation for peace and progress in the next century. I look forward to working with Prime Minister Miyazawa in the coming months as we join together to build that new partnership.
Mr. Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Miyazawa. Mr. President, thank you for your kind words, and thank you also for your very warm welcome today.
I have been looking forward to this important meeting. May I say that I have a sense of accomplishment in that we have built a personal relationship of mutual trust. I am convinced that our new partnership can respond to the needs of a new era. Our partnership is crucial for making the world more peaceful and prosperous. The President and I have, therefore, agreed to meet at least once every year, separate from the G-7 process.
Let me comment briefly on four areas of our discussions today. First, we affirmed the continuing importance of Japan-U.S. security treaty in the post-cold-war era. Second, on the economy, I welcome the President's leadership in tackling the budget deficit problem head on. On our part, Japan's new '93 fiscal budget is geared to stimulating domestic demand. And 3 days ago, my government decided on an additional package of expansionary measures totaling $116 billion to further stimulate our domestic demand. This will certainly accelerate our economic growth.
I also stressed our continuing efforts to increase market access. I further explained to the President that my government has decided to undertake a new funds for development initiative to facilitate financial flow from Japan to developing countries. These respective efforts by both Japan and the United States are critically important for ensuring world economic growth. They are also vital for strengthening the foundation of our partnership.
In the area of our bilateral trade and economic relations, I stressed to the President that our economic prosperity is founded on our deep economic interdependence. We must nurture this relationship with a cooperative spirit based upon the principle of free trade. This cannot be realized with managed trade nor under the threat of unilateralism.
Our relationship must be a plus-sum relationship, not a zero-sum one. It is in this context that I expressed serious concern over some trends in the United States. I explained my government's policy to continue efforts to increase our market access. But this must be done with parallel efforts of the United States to strengthen competitiveness, export promotion under the free trade system.
On the Uruguay round negotiations, we cannot allow them to fail. And after 7 years, we must reach a realistic agreement through further negotiations.
Recognizing the importance of advancing our new economic partnership, we need to develop a new framework for our two nations to address the structural and sectoral issues of both countries that can promote trade and the investment flows in key industries, as well as enhance our cooperation in such areas as environment, technology, and development of human resources. Within the next 3 months, the President and I expect to create such a new framework.
Third, on Russia, Japan chaired the meeting of foreign and finance ministers of G-7 countries, subsequently joined by the Russian ministers, which ended yesterday in Tokyo. I cooperated closely with President Clinton on the preparations for this meeting, talking over the phone a few times. I believe the joint ministerial meeting sent a strong message of support for Russia's efforts for democratic and economic reform, and its law and justice foreign policy. At the opening session of that meeting, I announced a $1,820,000,000 package of Japan's bilateral assistance to Russia. Today the President and I discussed how we would follow up and build on the results of that meeting as Russia undergoes a delicate period of transition.
Fourth, the dynamic growth of the Asia-Pacific region promises benefits for the entire world. But we must bear in mind that the region is undergoing changes with risks and instabilities. American presence and Japan-U.S.. security treaty are indispensable, stabilizing elements for the region. I assured the President that Japan would continue to provide host nation support which amounts to $4,600,000,000 in the year 1993. Japan will also work together with the United States to build more cohesiveness and the feeling of reassurance through regional dialog and cooperation.
Finally, let me make a personal observation. For half a century, I have been involved in bilateral regulations in one way or another. Now, talking to the youthful new leader of this great nation, who has emerged at an historic time of changes in the world, I have felt optimism for the unbounded possibilities of our two nations working together in our new partnership to bring a better world for all of us.
Thank you very much.
Q. Mr. President, if all bets are off now, are you seriously considering the use of air power in Bosnia against the Serbs and also lifting the arms embargo? Have you given any kind of ultimatum to the Serbs? And what kind of a feedback are you getting from Russia and the allies for stronger action?
The President. Let me try to answer some of those, anyway. We began this morning with a discussion of the situation in Bosnia. And the Secretary of State has been on the phone quite a bit today, consistent with his obligation to be part of the meeting with the Prime Minister. All I can tell you is that, at this point, I would not rule out any option except the option that I have never ruled in, which was the question of American ground troops.
I would also remind all of you that I have operated from the beginning tinder the assumption that whatever is done must be done within the framework of a multilateral cooperation, that this was not something the United States could effectively do alone.
Since we decided to become involved there after the situation was already quite severe, we have dramatically increased the availability of humanitarian aid, secured a resolution to enforce the no-fly zone, become involved in the Vance-Owen negotiations in a way that got the Bosnians to agree, and have worked on strengthening the sanctions which, while not doing much to stem the violence in Bosnia, certainly have exacted a price from the Serbians economically.
Those are the things that I have been able to do, taking a situation that was in quite bad shape when I found it and within the limits of multilateralism. I wouldn't rule out other steps. I wouldn't rule them in. All I can tell you is that I'm going to be spending a lot of time on this today, and I'm very concerned about it. And I'm outraged that the Serbians, when given the opportunity, did not sign on to the Vance-Owen process.
Japan- U.S.. Trade
Q. I would like to ask to the President-[inaudible]—tough talk with the Prime Minister regarding trading issue, do you think this is the fight way for the United States to get along with Japan? And my other question is do you have—[inaudible]—a substantial result from this meeting regarding trading?
The President. First of all, let me reiterate what I said. Our relationship is built on shared values and a commitment to democracy. It has a security aspect. It has an aspect of cooperation on global affairs—and we discussed those in great detail—and it has a bilateral economic aspect. Two nations can be great friends and can admire each other greatly and still not agree on every issue.
We have had a long and substantial trade deficit with Japan, which is highly concentrated in manufacturing and in certain sectors of manufacturing where we now believe we are competitive in price and quality: Autos, auto parts, electronics, supercomputers, semiconductors—you know the list—agriculture—as well as I do.
The difference—I don't want to characterize the issue as tough or not tough. I want it to be different. I want our relationship now to focus on the specific sectors in which there are problems and on the kind of structural difference which makes it difficult for us to ever meet. We have differences in patent law, differences in antitrust law, differences in the way our financial services and our other services sector works. And what I asked the Prime Minister for was a change in the direction of our relationship so we could focus on specific sectors and specific structures, with the view toward getting results.
I would just say that we have gotten some results in the semiconductor area where there was a specific agreement. But there's also been some progress in the auto parts area where there was a more general agreement. I think when we focus on specific areas, even though we may differ about specifically how we should do that, we tend to make progress. And I say this in a way of hoping that will lead us to greater cooperation.
The world needs a strong Japan. The world needs a strong United States. The world needs these two countries to cooperate. And it can only happen if we are making real progress on this trade deficit.
Q. The trade deficit has been stubborn for many years. It just went up again today, the Commerce Department reported. Why do you think that you can do something different now that your predecessors couldn't do? The Prime Minister just said that access for American products to Japanese markets would have to go along the lines of free trade. Would you like to see specific help for specific industries and targets?
The President. Well, let me reiterate what I said. I would like to have a focus on specific sectors of the economy, and I would like to obviously have specific results. We had a semiconductor agreement which gave some hope that this approach could work. There was also a more general commitment in the area of auto parts which has shown some progress.
Let me say that I think there are three or four things working today which may give us more results: Number one, the appreciation of the Japanese yen; number two, the stimulus program, which the Prime Minister has talked about—the last time we had a measurable drop in our trade deficit with Japan, it was after Japan adopted a stimulus program; number three, a breathtaking increase in productivity and quality by American manufacturers over the last several years, which makes us the low cost producer in many of these areas now; and number four, a different approach, commitment to focus sector by sector. The Prime Minister—let's not paper this over—there are some differences still between the Prime Minister and me about what kinds of agreements we should make, sector by sector, on these structural issues. But if we focus on them and talk about them specifically, honestly, and openly, I believe this is very different from what has happened in the past.
Japan's Support for Aid to Russia
Q. Mr. President, what is it that you really wanted to convey to President Yeltsin in Vancouver when you reportedly told him that when Japanese say yes, they often mean no? And secondly, using probably the same degree of candid description, would you care to characterize the Japanese economic activities in the arena of international trade and the economy?
The President. You know, let me say first of all, the world would be a sad place if people could never say anything in an offhand manner without having it turn into an international incident. I remember when I was elected, someone in your country suggested that Presidents always spoke a lot of hot air once they got elected. I took no offense at that. That's a part of the daily life.
I think your Prime Minister made the best statement of all when he said it reminded him of that old American song "Yes, We Have No Bananas." You asked me a question, what I meant; I don't know whether to tell you yes or no. I don't know what I meant anymore. [Laughter]
I will say, let me make the real point: The Prime Minister answered the question with a resounding yes by agreeing, number one, to host the meeting of foreign and finance ministers in Tokyo to discuss Russian aid and, number two, to a very aggressive commitment of $1.8 billion to help to alleviate the situation and to support Russian reform.
So Japan's answer to this problem was clearly yes, capital Y-E-S, yes.
Q. Mr. President, you mentioned the stimulus program that Miyazawa's government has put forward and described it as a good first step. If that's a good first step, sir, is it really reasonable to argue that your own stimulus program, less than a seventh of that, is a first step of any significance at all?
The President. I think it is because the circumstances are different. Let's go back to the mid-seventies, and perhaps Prime Minister Miyazawa could fill in the blanks, but if my memory is right, Japan had a very large budget deficit about 15 years ago, which they then set about to erase. And they worked very hard to do it. They are in a surplus position now if you take all their government budgets together, social insurance and all of that. They're in a surplus position. So they're in a position to have a bigger stimulus. Also, they have a big trade surplus with the rest of the world, so the economic prescription to get growth back in their country and also to reduce the trade surplus would be to dramatically expand domestic demand.
We have a large trade deficit, and we are in an economic recovery, that is, our projected growth rate, economic growth rate is larger than the Japanese projected rate before their stimulus. But our problem is that even in recovery we, like the Europeans, weren't generating any new jobs. So what I am trying to do here is to fire not a shotgun, but a rifle to try to take advantage of the economic recovery and the fact that I do have a long-term dramatic reduction of the deficit which more than covers the cost of this modest stimulus to create new jobs. So, there are two different programs with two different objectives. I think both of them are quite well-founded.
Q. Did you discuss options against North Korea with Prime Minister Miyazawa? Also, could you tell us which is the United States policy, sanctions or direct talk with North Korea?
The President. We discussed the situation in North Korea and what our options were and what could be done within the next couple of months to try to persuade North Korea, number one, not to withdraw from the NPT regime and, number two, not to pursue an aggressive development program for nuclear weapons. And we talked about the relative merits of both sanctions and persuasion and who might be able to talk to North Korea and what might be able to be done to convince them that this was not the way to go. We discussed the whole range of options.
Q. Mr. President, in an hour or so you're going to meet with gay rights leaders in the Oval Office—the first time in history, apparently, that this has happened—a meeting that mysteriously is closed to television cameras. Would you (a) like to reconsider that in that it appears that you're trying to make this a very low-key exercise? And secondly, what do you say to the gay rights leaders who regard your decision to skip their march next weekend as something of a snub?
The President. Well, let me first of all answer—I didn't know about the thing being closed. I can't comment on it because I haven't thought about it.
But I don't see how any serious person could claim that I have snubbed the gay community in this country, having taken the position I have not only on the issue of the military but of participation in the Government. I have, I believe it's clear, taken a stronger position against discrimination than any of my predecessors. And it is a position that I believe in very deeply, one that I took publicly in 1991 before there was any organized political support for me in the gay community. It had nothing to do with politics and has everything to do with the fact that I grew up in a segregated society and have very strong feelings about the right of everybody who is willing to work hard and play by the rules to participate in American life.
During the time of the—on Saturday, I'm going to be with the Senate. On Sunday, I'm going to meet with the newspaper publishers. I mean no snub. But Presidents usually don't participate in marches. That has nothing to do with my commitment on the fundamental issue of being antidiscrimination.
Yes, in the back.
Japan-U. S. Trade and Japan's Economy
Q. Mr. President, I know the United States is seeking the result-oriented trade policy. So my question is that the U.S.. is also seeking a visible result in the area of macroeconomic problems, such as a sharp decline of the Japanese trade surplus or something?
And that the next question is for Prime Minister Miyazawa. Did you make any commitment in the future of the Japanese economy, such as the 1994 growth rate or a trade surplus or something?
The President. You want me to go first? I'm not sure I entirely understood your question, but let me answer you in this way: When the Prime Minister and I were discussing this meeting in our private one-on-one meeting, he pointed out quite accurately that the last time there was a reduction in the trade deficit that the U.S.. has with Japan was after a significant economic stimulus program was adopted several years ago in the eighties which he helped to engineer in a previous capacity.
And then he said, but still we may not get the trade deficit down low enough for the United States purposes, and so perhaps we should examine these things sector by sector as well as some of the structural problems relating to the differences in our laws and the way they operate and some of the way we're organized. Obviously, beyond that in terms of how you get those results, there are still things to be hashed out and differences. But I consider that to be a significant move forward, that we at least have agreed on the conceptual framework in which we will deal with these problems.
Prime Minister Miyazawa. The $116 billion is a sizable amount of money, particularly on top of the $86 billion we committed over this last year. These two stimulus measures are bound to affect the Japanese economy; no doubt about it. By this time of the year, we feel the Japanese economy has picked up, recovering slow but steady, and I am sure that the government-forecasted 3.3 percent growth is, I think, within our reach.
Q. On Bosnia, do you feel that this is a time for American leadership, that sanctions have obviously not had any effect on the Serbian behavior, even though they've had an effect on the Serbian economy? Are you trying to persuade our allies to lift the arms embargo, to take other steps including possibly air strikes? Or do you feel that this is something where your hands are tied by our European partners?
The President. I think all I should say now, because we are engaged in rather intense discussions about this, is that I think the time has come for the United States and Europe to look honestly at where we are and what our options are and what the consequences of various courses of action will be. And I think we have to consider things which at least previously have been unacceptable to some of the Security Council members and some of those in NATO and in other common security arrangements of which the United States is a part.
I do think that the United States, as I have said for a long time now and said during my campaign, has an interest in what happens in Bosnia. I think we have an interest in standing up against the principle of ethnic cleansing. If you look at the turmoil all through the Balkans, if you look at the other places where this could play itself out in other parts of the world, this is not just about Bosnia.
On the other hand, there is reason to be humble when approaching anything dealing with the former Yugoslavia. Everyone remembers the experience of the Gentian army there during World War II. You have only to look at the topography of the country to realize the limits of outside action there. So, we have to be humble in the face of it, and we haven't had a very good hand to play, at least in the last 2 1/2 months since I've been looking closely at this.
But I do think the United States at least has an obligation to force the consideration by all the parties of all responsible options and try to come to the best possible result. And that's what I intend to do.
NOTE: The President's 11th news conference began at 1:59 p.m. in the East Room at the White House.
William J. Clinton, The President's News Conference With Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa of Japan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/219737