New Joint Vision to Guide U.S.-Japan Alliance, Obama Says
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
WASHINGTON, April 30, 2012 - A new joint vision with Japan will help to shape the future of the Asia-Pacific region for decades to come, President Barack Obama said today.
Standing alongside Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda at a White House news conference, Obama referred to Japan as "one of America's closest allies in the Asia-Pacific region" and around the world.
"First, we recognize that the U.S.-Japan alliance will remain the foundation of the security and prosperity of our two nations, but also a cornerstone of regional peace and security," Obama said. "As such, we reviewed the agreement that our governments reached last week to realign American forces in Japan."
The agreement reflects the U.S. effort to modernize its defense posture in the Asia-Pacific region with forces that are more broadly distributed, more flexible and more sustainable, the president said. "At the same time," he added, it will reduce the impact on local communities like Okinawa."
Speaking through a translator, Noda reaffirmed the significance of the two nations' cooperation.
"We were able to confirm from broader perspectives the present-day significance of the Japan-U.S. alliance and where the Japan-U.S. relations should be headed in the longer term," he said.
"Now, I've always held the conviction that our bilateral alliance is the linchpin of Japan's diplomacy," he added. "Having had conversations with my with U.S. friends, yesterday only renews my conviction that Japan-U.S. alliance must be unchangeable and, in fact, be unshakable."
The president detailed the joint vision, noting that it commits both countries to deepening their mutual trade and investments.
"We're already among each other's top trading partners, and our exports to Japan and Japanese companies here in the U.S. support more than 1 million American jobs," Obama said, adding that more remains to be done as the country works to double U.S. exports.
"We instructed our teams to continue our consultation regarding Japan's interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would benefit both our economies and the region," he said. "And we agreed to deepen our cooperation on nuclear safety, clean energy and cyber security to enhance our economic competitiveness."
the third part of this joint vision lays out the future the United States seeks in the Asia-Pacific region, the president said: "a region where international rules and norms are upheld, where nations contribute to regional security, where commerce and freedom of navigation is not impeded and where disputes are resolved peacefully."
Obama said both countries will also remain in close consultation on North Korea and will continue to discuss changes in Burma and India, and how to reward progress there while encouraging more reform.
The president also commended Japan for "strong leadership" regarding Iran's nuclear program with its decision to reduce oil imports from Iran.
"This is just one more example of how despite challenging times at home, Japan has continued to serve as a model and a true global leader," Obama said.
The president also noted this joint vision reaffirms the U.S. and Japan's role as global partners "bound by shared values and committed to international peace, security and human rights."
"For example, our nations are the largest donors in Afghanistan," Obama said. "As we plan for the NATO summit in Chicago and the next phase of the transition in Afghanistan, Japan is planning for a donor conference to sustain development there."
Noda thanked the United States for its "unsparing support" during Operation Tomodachi, the response following the March 11, 2011, 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami disaster in eastern Japan.
"[The] Japan-U.S. alliance has reached new heights," Noda said. "Together with President Obama, I shall firmly advance these steps."
The president thanked Noda for helping to revitalize the U.S.-Japanese alliance and providing greater security and prosperity for both countries.
"I once again want to salute the people of Japan for the strength and the resilience and the courage that they've shown during this past year," Obama said. "More than ever, the American people are proud to call you a friend, and honored to call you an ally."
State Department Background Note on Japan