Japan-United States of America Relations
Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting
November 20, 2015
On November 19, commencing at 6:40 p.m. (7:40 p.m. Japan time) for approximately 90 minutes, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, who is visiting Manila, held a Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting with the Honorable Barack H. Obama, President of the United States of America. The overview of the meeting is as follows.
1. Opening Remarks
Prime Minister Abe stated that he is pleased with the progress on the economic cooperation regarding energy and infrastructure, after affirming the robust Japan-U.S. relations during his visit to the United States in April. Prime Minister Abe also mentioned the collaboration of Japan’s Proactive Contribution to Peace and the United States’ rebalance policy, and stated that he intends to make this meeting a prelude to a new Japan-U.S. cooperation to utilize the robust Japan-U.S. Alliance to realize peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the international community.
2. Japan-U.S. Relations
(1) General Remarks
Prime Minister Abe stated that in further advancing Japan-U.S. cooperation, collaboration with countries that share the fundamental values such as freedom, democracy, and the rule of law, is essential, and he intends to, together with the U.S., build a network to realize peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, with the Japan-U.S. Alliance as the linchpin.
President Obama responded by pointing out that enactment of the Legislation for Peace and Security is a historic achievement, that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will completely change the nature of trade in the region, and that Japan and the United States need to work together in order to establish the rule of law and international norm—including the Law of the Sea—in the region. President Obama then stated that he supports Prime Minister Abe’s idea of building the network.
(2) Japan-U.S. Security
Prime Minister Abe stated that he intends to crystalize Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation under the new Guidelines, advance with strong determination the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma to Henoko, which is the only solution, and work together on mitigating the impact on Okinawa for the purpose of the stable presence of the U.S. forces.
In response, President Obama expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Abe for his efforts on the relocation of MCAS Futenma, and stated that the United States will also cooperate to mitigate the impact on Okinawa. President Obama also commented on the revision of the Agreement on the Host Nation Support (HNS), and Prime Minister Abe responded by stating that Japan intends to continue discussions in order to make the new HNS agreement appropriate.
President Obama commented that with the TPP, high-level rules has been established, and thanked Prime Minister Abe for his leadership, and stated that the agreement will maintain valuable for generations to come.
Prime Minister Abe stated that leadership of Japan and the United States achieved the agreement in principle on the TPP, and that he intends to strengthen Japan-U.S. collaboration for the early signing and entry into force of the agreement. President Obama responded by commenting that he intends to work on the entry into force and implementation of the TPP as a top priority.
4. Situations in East Asia
President Obama stated that he was encouraged by the discussions between Japan and China and the Republic of Korea (ROK), and the United States extends its support. In response, Prime Minister Abe expressed his gratitude.
Prime Minister Abe stated that he will continue to promote the “Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests”, and mentioned that in the East China Sea, intrusions into Japan’s territorial sea by Chinese vessels and unilateral resource development are continuing, incidents have occurred in which Chinese naval vessels approached the waters surrounding the Senkaku Islands, and that he is concerned about further escalation.
President Obama mentioned that regarding cyber issues, the United States and China agreed not to engage in cyber theft in commercial relationships, and implementation is important.
(2) South China Sea
Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan supports the “Freedom of Navigation” operations by the U. S. Navy in the South China Sea, and he explained Japan’s existing stance regarding the activities of the Self-Defense Forces in the South China Sea, stating that such activities will be examined while taking into consideration the impact that situations have on the security of Japan. Prime Minister Abe added that Japan will provide support to relevant countries, and that this support will include a combination of ODA, capacity-building support by the Self-Defense Forces, and defense equipment cooperation. Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe stated that he opposes any unilateral action that will change the status quo and heighten tensions. In response, President Obama commented that the United States will continue implementing the “Freedom of Navigation” operations routinely.
(3) Republic of Korea
Prime Minister Abe explained that in the Japan-ROK Summit Meeting, he engaged in a frank and constructive exchange of opinions with President Park Geun-hye, and commented that the ROK is Japan’s most important partner in building cooperative relationships in the region, with the Japan-U.S. Alliance as the linchpin. President Obama responded that he strongly supported Prime Minister Abe’s dialogues with President Park Geun-hye.
(4) North Korea
Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK security cooperation is important given the North Korea’s nuclear and missile issues, and for the security of Japan in general. Prime Minister Abe also mentioned that he would strengthen Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation, and strongly urge North Korea to refrain from provocations, and that Japan hopes to receive continued understanding and cooperation from the United States regarding the abductions issue. President Obama stated that Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation was essential, including in the context of addressing issues on North Korea.
5. Japan-U.S. Cooperation in the Region
Prime Minister Abe stated that collaboration with ASEAN is essential, relations with the Australia and India are strategically important, and he intends to further deepen Japan-U.S.-India collaboration. Prime Minister Abe also commented that Japan intends to collaborate with the United States in order to strengthen the mechanisms of the East Asia Summit (EAS) and to make the EAS the region’s premier forum in both name and reality.
President Obama stated that he supports and will cooperate regarding Prime Minister Abe’s idea of building networks in the region with the Japan-U.S. Alliance as the linchpin, in order to realize peace and prosperity, and that he intends to advance discussions regarding cooperation with ASEAN as well. President Obama added that he also supports moving forward with strategic dialogues with India and Australia.
Prime Minister Abe commented that resolving the crisis in Syria is important from a viewpoint of counterterrorism as well, that he has a strong interest in the political processes for peace, and would like to actively contribute including the field of humanitarian assistance. In response, President Obama stated that process has developed regarding Syria, but more efforts are still needed in order to resolve the crisis.
7. Cooperation in the International Arena
(1) Climate Change
Prime Minister Abe stated that he will participate in the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) and intends to cooperate closely with the United States in order to build a framework in which all countries, including developing countries, participate. In response, President Obama commented that Japan and the United States are closely aligned regarding climate change policies, and appreciated the basic agreement reached at the OECD Working Party on Export Credits and Credit Guarantees, to revise the ‘‘Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits’’ regarding provision of official export credits to coal-fired power plants and thanked Japan for its leadership regarding clean energy and environment issues.
President Obama stated that cyber issues were included in the G20 Communique and he intends to continue promoting cyber norms. In response, Prime Minister Abe commented that addressing cyber attacks is an important issue in terms of national security and crisis management, and he intends to continue cooperating closely with the United States and deliver strong messages through various opportunities.
President Obama stated that regarding the Global Health Security Agenda, he intends to collaborate with Prime Minister Abe, and mentioned that Japan is making efforts at a high level on health issues. Prime Minister Abe responded by commenting that the field of health is important to Japan, and as next year’s G7 chair country, Japan intends to make further contributions in the field of health.
(4) Nuclear Security Summit
President Obama stated that next year will be the last year of the Nuclear Security Summit, Japan has continued to be an excellent partner throughout the summit, and he intends to cooperate with Prime Minister Abe in order to achieve results. In response, Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan intends to cooperate closely with the United States. Prime Minister Abe then thanked the United States for its cooperation related to the complete removal and disposal of Fast Critical Assembly (FCA) nuclear materials, as announced at the opportunity of The Hague Nuclear Security Summit.