Opening Remarks by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi

(Press Occasion after the Japan-US Summit at Crawford)

May 23, 2003

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the heartwarming welcome extended to me by the President and the First Lady. We were able to have an in-depth discussion in an extremely warm and friendly atmosphere.

150 years since the arrival of Commodore Perry to the shores of Japan, we were able to agree to further strengthen the relations between our two countries, not only in the bilateral context, but also in the global context.

Japan-US Security Arrangements are a pillar that supports our alliance. We decided to further promote consultation between our governments to make our cooperation in the security area even stronger. Ballistic missile defense is an important agenda in Japan's defense policy. Japan will further accelerate its consideration. In addition, we concurred on the importance of reducing the burden on Okinawa.

The other pillar is the economy. Together, our GDP accounts for 40% of the world economy. It is necessary for the prosperity of the world that the Japanese and the US economies are healthy. This is of course vital for our two countries, but it is no less significant for the world. The most important mission of my Cabinet is to revitalize the Japanese economy. I was able to gain support from the President concerning my efforts to carry out structural reform. To this end, I will tackle deflation. I will never allow a financial crisis to occur.

Not only in the security area, but also concerning the economy, I would like to tackle various issues through cooperation between our two countries from the standpoint of "Japan-US alliance in the global context."

We will resolutely pursue our fight against terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We have different roles and ways of doing things, but Japan and the US will continue to cooperate with firm determination in their efforts to root out terrorism.

On Iraq, the President made a difficult and brave decision for a just cause. I supported this. Our decision was right. With Memorial Day coming up, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the brave US men and women in uniform who sacrificed their lives for the cause as well as their family members.

I welcome the adoption of the Security Council resolution. I also concurred with President Bush that we would continue to work to build international solidarity. Japan will continue to actively support the nation-building by the Iraqi people. I believe that the entire world needs to cooperate so that the end to combat operations in Iraq will be an opportunity to ensure that stability and reconstruction in Iraq lead to peace in the Middle East.

I express my respect for the active efforts by President Bush to promote the Middle East peace process. I will leave for Egypt and Saudi Arabia today, and Japan too intends to work to reconstruct Iraq, together with the Arab countries.

On North Korea, the issue of its nuclear weapons is a grave challenge to the world as well. We will not tolerate at all the possession, the development, or the transfer of nuclear weapons by North Korea. North Korea must promptly and completely dismantle all nuclear weapons development programs in a verifiable manner. We agreed that we would resolve this issue peacefully. Coordination among Japan, the US and the ROK is crucial to that end. Continuation of the multilateral talks is important, and participation by Japan and the ROK is essential. Further escalation of the situation by North Korea would require tougher measures. In any event, Japan will further strengthen its crack down on illegal activities. And North Korea will have to understand that threats and intimidation have no meaning. It is extremely important for Japan to comprehensively resolve the various issues including nuclear weapons, missiles and abduction based on the Pyongyang Declaration. Without this, normalization of relations between Japan and North Korea will not occur. In addition, I express my sincere appreciation to President Bush for his strong support on the abduction issue.

On this occasion, I would like to express my heartfelt respect to the President for his strong leadership since the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, as well as his strong determination as a wartime President. Japan wishes to do all it can for world peace and stability, together with the US.

Yesterday and today, I spent many hours discussing various issues with the President - I have never spent so many hours in discussion with a head of state or government. The President taught me that the word "Texas" originally means "friend." I wish to express my most heartfelt thanks for the warm hospitality extended to me by the President and the First Lady, and also for the President's personal friendship.

[END]


Back to Index