President Clinton Lauds Japan's Efforts to Stem Economic Woes and Cites "Best Days Lay Ahead for Both US and Japan"

November 1998

In a Cordial Summit Meeting on November 20th at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, President Clinton and Prime Minister Obuchi discussed substantive political, security, economic and international issues. At a Joint Press Conference which followed, President Clinton endorsed the Prime Minister's policy measures aimed at stabilizing the financial system and boosting Japan's ailing economy, saying "It is in the best interests of the Japanese people to move forward with Prime Minister Obuchi's strategy." Security discussions between the two focused heavily on the threat from North Korea. Emerging suspicions of North Korea's underground nuclear facility have made Japan, which had once temporarily suspended progress on the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) when North Korea launched a missile over Japan last August, very nervous. Both leaders confirmed that Japan, U.S. and the Republic of Korea would cooperate closely on this issue. At the Summit, the US and Japan made a Joint Statement on democracy to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 5th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration issued by the World Conference on Human Rights. In lauding Mr. Clinton's efforts in achieving the WYE River Agreement and, in order to accelerate the momentum of the peace process, Mr. Obuchi pledged that Japan would continue its assistance to the Palestinians by providing up to $200 million over the next two years. President Clinton extended his invitation to Prime Minister Obuchi to visit the United States next May. This will be the first official visit for the Prime Minister. Prior to the Summit, on TV, President Clinton conversed with the Japanese audience where he stressed that Japan's recovery was "essential to the rest of Asia emerging from its present difficulties." He encouraged all to have confidence in the future and assured them that Japan would soon overcome its present woes. He praised Japan further, noting that "in the last 50 years no country has demonstrated the capacity to change more than Japan." He ended his TV appearance by saying: "The best days of Japan and the best days of America lay before us in the 21st century if we determine to go there together."

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