Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting

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(Photo: Cabinet Public Relations Office)

February 22, 2013

On Friday February 22, for approximately 105 minutes during his visit to the United States, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a summit meeting and working lunch with President Barack Obama. The outline of the meeting is as follows. (Attached is Joint Statement by the United States and Japan issued after the meeting.)

1. Japan-U.S. Relations

(1) General Remarks

(a) At the beginning of the meeting, President Obama welcomed Prime Minister Abe, and the Prime Minister explained to the President the basic policies of Japan's diplomacy, stating that strengthening the Japan-U.S. Alliance is the linchpin of Japan's diplomacy. Noting that a stronger Japan would be beneficial to the U.S. while a stronger U.S. would benefit Japan, the Prime Minister stated that Japan would endeavor to reinforce its defense capabilities and to revive a strong economy, while at the same time strengthening bilateral cooperation in a wide range of fields.

(b) Prime Minister Abe stated that under the increasingly severe security environment in the Asia-Pacific region, it was important for Japan and the United States to further strengthen the Japan-U.S. Alliance. In addition, the Prime Minister stated that he thought diplomacy should be pursued from a global perspective as seeing a world map and it was important to deepen collaboration with regional countries on the basis of the Japan-U.S. Alliance. He further stated that the cooperative relationship between Japan and the U.S. should be instrumental in addressing global issues, and that Japan would like to strengthen bilateral cooperation on issues such as counterterrorism, Afghanistan and Iran.

(c) Prime Minister Abe extended an invitation for President Obama to visit Japan. In response, the President stated that he was very fond of Japan.

(2) Security

(a) Prime Minister Abe stated that in light of the increasingly severe security environment, Japan would fulfill its responsibility with the U.S. He explained that Japan was taking concrete steps to strengthen its own defense capabilities by such measures as increasing its defense budget and reviewing the National Defense Program Guidelines, and that Japan had started to review the right of collective self-defense. The Prime Minister emphasized that Japan would ensure these efforts should contribute to the strengthening of the Alliance. In addition, Prime Minister Abe expressed his intention to promote bilateral cooperation in wide-ranging areas in order to enhance the deterrence of the Japan-U.S. Security Alliance. Furthermore, he added that in response to the changing security environment, Japan would like to start reviewing the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation through discussions on the two countries' views of the roles, missions and capabilities. President Obama stated that the Japan-U.S. Alliance was of great importance not only for Japan but also for the U.S. as a Pacific nation, and welcomed Japan's efforts to strengthen the Alliance. The two leaders shared their views that they would instruct their respective foreign and defense ministers to follow up on important security issues utilizing the 2+2 Meeting.

(b) On the realignment of the U.S. Forces in Japan, Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan would implement the realignment in accordance with the existing agreements with the U.S. and seek to reduce the burden on Okinawa while maintaining deterrence. Prime Minister Abe and President Obama also shared their views that they would advance the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma and the Okinawa Consolidation Plan without delay.

(c) Prime Minister Abe welcomed the launch of comprehensive dialogues between Japan and the United States on space and cyber.

2. Asia-Pacific Situation

(1) China

(a) Prime Minister Abe stated that the relationship with China represented one of the most important bilateral relationships for Japan. He added that even though there was confrontation with China on certain individual issues, Japan hoped to build a "win-win" situation for both countries from a perspective of the "Mutually Beneficial Relationship based on Common Strategic Interests."

(b) Both leaders also discussed the situation surrounding the Senkaku Islands. Prime Minister Abe explained that Japan had been dealing with China in a calm manner and would continue dialogues with China including those of political level. Prime Minister Abe and President Obama shared the view that the two countries would cooperate with each other on the basis of the Japan-U.S. Alliance to make the region ruled by law, not by force.

(2) North Korea

(a) Prime Minister Abe and President Obama exchanged views on the situation surrounding North Korea, and shared concerns over its recent nuclear test. Prime Minister Abe stated that such provocation by North Korea was unacceptable and must not be rewarded. He said North Korea continued nuclear and missile development despite various actions taken against it, and that it was essential for Japan, the U.S. and the Republic of Korea to respond unitedly in facing this reality.

(b) Prime Minister Abe asserted that the international community should send a clear message to North Korea through a U.N. Security Council resolution, and that it was important for the Security Council to adopt a strong new resolution and impose additional and more powerful sanctions on North Korea adding that Japan would cooperate toward that end. Prime Minister Abe said Japan hoped to work closely with the U.S. also on imposing extra sanctions outside the Security Council framework. Both leaders confirmed that they would cooperate on this issue.

(c) Both leaders agreed to promote ballistic missile defense cooperation in the face of the nuclear and missile development by North Korea. They confirmed the additional deployment of a TPY-2 radar in Japan.

(d) On the issue of abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea, Prime Minister Abe expressed his determination for a complete resolution of this problem during his tenure and he thanked the United States for its understanding and support.

(3) Cooperation with the Republic of Korea

(a) Prime Minister Abe stated that the Republic of Korea (ROK) was Japan's most important neighbor which shared the same values and interests with Japan. He also stated that although there were difficult issues between the two countries, he hoped to work together with ROK President-elect Park Geun-hye to build a multi-layered future-oriented bilateral relationship.

(b) Given the current situation surrounding North Korea and other issues, the two leaders shared the recognition that cooperation among Japan, the U.S. and the ROK was becoming more important than ever. Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan would like to further strengthen cooperation, including security cooperation, between Japan and the ROK and among Japan, the U.S. and the ROK.

3. Middle East and North African Situation

(1) After exchanging condolences on the victims by the terrorist attack in Algeria, in which both Japanese and American lives had been lost, the two leaders concurred on the need to strengthen counterterrorism cooperation between Japan and the United States, and agreed to promote concrete cooperative measures, such as supporting the reinforcement of counterterrorism capabilities of countries in the region, through collaboration in the U.S.-led Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), Japan-U.S. counterterrorism consultations and other measures.

(2) President Obama expressed gratitude for Japan's efforts regarding Afghanistan and Iran. Prime Minister Abe responded that Japan would continue to extend support to Afghanistan. On Iran, the Prime Minister said Japan would continue to reduce imports of Iranian crude oil, while attempting to persuade Iran to react in a constructive manner through the channels that Japan has.

4. Economy

(1) General

President Obama praised Prime Minister Abe for his bold economic policy, mentioning his understanding that the Japanese people highly appreciated the policy.

(2) TPP

(a) Prime Minister Abe stated that cooperation between Japan and the United States in developing high-standard rules and order of trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region is significant. Regarding TPP, he explained to President Obama that the LDP returned to its position as the ruling party through his pledge during the recent House of Representatives election that they would "oppose participation in the TPP negotiations as long as the requirement for participation is that the Japanese government make prior commitment to eliminate tariffs with no sanctuary". He also explained that the LDP had laid out five other criteria by which they would decide.

(b) Beyond that, through this summit meeting Prime Minister Abe stated that [First,] both countries have bilateral trade sensitivities, namely certain agricultural products for Japan and certain manufactured products for the U.S. [Second,] the final outcomes are to be determined during the negotiations. [Third,] it is not required to make a prior commitment to unilaterally eliminate all tariffs upon joining the TPP negotiations. He explicitly confirmed these three points with President Obama.

(c) Including these points, the two leaders held extensive discussions and as a result, they shared their recognition on what is stated in the Joint Statement by the United States and Japan .

(3) Energy

(a) Prime Minister Abe said the most pressing challenge for Japan was to reduce increasing fuel costs following the Great East Japan Earthquake and he reiterated Japan's request for early approval of exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Japan. In response, President Obama said the review process of U.S. export permission was still underway but he always kept in his mind the importance of Japan as an ally.

(b) Prime Minister Abe said that in order to realize a low-carbon society, Japan would like to expand bilateral cooperation to cover finance and other fields of business in addition to the development and dissemination of clean energy, which both countries had undertaken so far.

(c) On Japan's nuclear power policy, Prime Minister Abe stated that the previous administration's policy of terminating nuclear power generation in the 2030s would be given a zero-base review and that his administration would build a responsible energy policy. He added that as a partner in international nuclear cooperation, Japan would like to cooperate closely with the U.S. at various levels. President Obama responded that the U.S. would like to pursue bilateral cooperation in the fields of clean energy and nuclear power.

(4) Climate Change

Prime Minister Abe said it was essential that the new international framework for climate change beyond 2020 should be fair, effective and applicable to all Parties and, therefore, it would be a major challenge how to ensure the participation of emerging economies such as China in the framework. He also explained that Japan would contribute to the world utilizing Japanese technologies. The two leaders confirmed that Japan and the U.S. would develop close bilateral cooperation on climate change.

(5) Superconducting Magnetic Levitation (SCMAGLEV) Technologies

Prime Minister Abe praised the high-speed rail plan promoted by President Obama and, referring to the significance of high-speed rail, proposed adoption of superconducting magnetic levitation (SCMAGLEV) technologies to the U.S. which had been already entering the phase of test runs in Japan, as a symbol of bilateral cooperation. President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, who was also present at the meeting, listened to the proposal with interest.

5. Others (Child Custody)

Prime Minister Abe explained that he aimed to submit the Hague Convention and a bill on relevant domestic law to implement the Convention to the Diet and that the government had completed the process in the ruling parties. He also stated that he would work toward ratification by the Diet.

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