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Visit of Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira of Japan Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony.

May 02, 1979

THE PRESIDENT. This morning it's a wonderful pleasure for me, on behalf of the people of our Nation, to welcome to our country, to our Capital City, the distinguished Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Ohira, and his wife; and also members of his government who've come to consult with us on matters of great import to the people of both countries.

This welcome is extended to you, Mr. Prime Minister, with our deepest feelings of a common purpose and a realization of the importance of the friendship which binds us together. We are especially honored because this is your first trip abroad after assuming your new responsibilities.

The United States and its people have a great admiration for the people of Japan. We recognize your deep commitment to the principles of democracy. We trust the basic motivations and ideals of your country. We are proud of the close cooperation which we have seen exhibited in times of testing and trial, and I believe that this cooperation bodes good for the other people of the world.

Our people are naturally friends. There is an innate appreciation of one another, from the highest levels of government and business to the average tourist who always comes back from a visit to the other country with a sense of hospitality and welcome having been extended.

Our own Nation's security and yours are both enhanced by this close relationship. And, of course, in international political affairs, in economics and trade, we share common problems and we share common opportunities.

We had a large group of Asian Americans who came to visit me a few minutes ago before this ceremony. And I pointed out to them that our Nation is blessed by approximately 4 million Asian Americans, who have enriched our country. And I also pointed out to them that our Nation is a country of refugees. We look upon the Pacific Ocean not as an obstacle to be overcome, but as a broad highway which we can use with freedom and with ease to bind our countries even closer together in the future.

We are dependent on trade. As you know, I, as you, have been a farmer during most of my life. There are more acres of food being produced for Japan in the United States than there are acres of food being produced in Japan for Japan.

We value the wonderful market which you extend for agricultural products. There are more exchanges between the members of the American Congress and the Diet of your country than between. any other two legislative bodies on Earth. We consider the relationship with Japan to be the cornerstone of the implementation of American policy throughout Asia. And as you may know, these interrelationships extend on a personal basis. My daughter, Amy, studies violin as a beginning student under the direction of the great Japanese teacher Suzuki.

We have some economic problems between us. They are being thoroughly discussed. They are important. They are being addressed without timidity and without concealment. But I have no doubt that the bases which I've already described as a foundation for our interrelationship will serve with certainty as a basis for resolving our present economic differences.

I'll be going to Japan in June for an official visit at your invitation, which I certainly appreciate. I hope to have a chance personally to prove to the Japanese people the importance that we attach to their own personal friendship toward us.

And you and I will be meeting with five other leaders of great nations at an economic summit further to pursue some of the ideas that I've outlined so briefly.

The Japanese people are almost uniquely vigorous and disciplined and productive. And they combine these overt characteristics of strength with a certain grace and quietness and a degree of personal humility and an appreciation for beauty and art and culture that has aroused the legitimate admiration of the people of our country.

Above all, we appreciate the Japanese influence for peace, your commitment to peace which serves as a standard for other nations to emulate.

We have in the past, we do now, and we will in the future strengthen one another because of shared ideals, and I'm sure that we will continue in the most profound way to help one another. We're glad to have you here.

In Japan, this is Golden Week, a week dedicated to holidays and joy. And we hope that in addition to your visit being fruitful in the diplomatic and economic and security area, that it will also be a visit of joy for you personally.

Welcome, Mr. Prime Minister, to our country.

THE PRIME MINISTER. Mr. President, thank you for your warm welcome. I have looked forward to this opportunity for us to become better acquainted and explore together the ways in which Japan and the United States may join in even closer partnership than ever before to realize the aspirations of both our peoples for peace and a stable expansion of the world economy.

Recently, economic frictions have surfaced between Japan and the United States. The economic problems between our two countries are serious, and we both are endeavoring to resolve these problems through mutual cooperation. I am determined to continue to do my utmost to that end.

In resolving our economic frictions, we should never forget that the Japanese-American relationship today in all its aspects is absolutely sound and secure, bound by mutual confidence and trust.

As we look to the 1980's, we cannot see any quick or easy solutions to the complex political, economic, and social challenges facing mankind. Under these circumstances, the constructive roles to be played by the industrial democracies of the world, especially Japan and the United States, are of crucial importance.

I am convinced that Japan and the United States can overcome a variety of challenges to fulfill their constructive roles. I believe this because we have among us the spiritual resources as well as abundant material and technical resources to see these tasks through to a successful conclusion.

Japan, I assure you, Mr. President, is fully cognizant of its responsibilities in all these areas. In close and productive partnership with the United States, our irreplaceable friend and ally, we have great tasks to perform. That is why I have come.
Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 10:10 a.m. on the South Lawn of the White House. Prime Minister Ohira spoke in Japanese, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

Following the ceremony, the President and the Prime Minister held a meeting. They met again in the afternoon.

Jimmy Carter, Visit of Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira of Japan Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250307

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