Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting
Thursday, September 22, 2011
On September 21, Prime Minister Noda held a summit meeting with President Obama for approximately 35 minutes from 12:20 P.M. (EST) during his visit to the U.S. to attend the UN General Assembly. The outline of the meeting is as follows: (Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State; Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury; William Daley, White House Chief of Staff; Thomas Donilon, National Security Advisor to the President; Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, etc. joined from the U.S. side; Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs ; Hiroyuki Nagahama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Akihisa Nagashima, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister; Ichiro Fujisaki, Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. etc. joined from the Japanese side.
- Opening Remarks - The Outline of Japan-U.S. Relations -
At the beginning, President Obama stated that Japan is an important ally and a partner with which the U.S. would work cooperatively on a broad range of issues such as security, economy, and so forth. He further expressed that the U.S. would do everything that it can do as Prime Minister Noda has to deal with extraordinary challenges such as rebuilding Japan in the aftermath of the tsunami. In addition, President Obama mentioned that, as the two largest economies in the world, the U.S. would like to hold productive discussions with its ally, Japan, on matters such as enhancing growth and job creation.
In response, Prime Minister Noda said that the top priority for his administration is the reconstruction from the earthquake and the conclusion of the nuclear power plant accident. At the same time, he commented that even from before the earthquake took place, Japan had a lot of challenges both domestically and in foreign policy areas and that the mission of his administration is dealing with them one by one and creating a stable administration. Moreover, Prime Minister Noda once again expressed his appreciation to the enormous U.S. assistance such as Operation Tomodachi, stating that he got a firm belief that the Japan-U.S. alliance is the linchpin of Japan’s foreign policy again through U.S. assistance of this time. He further showed his intention to deepen and enhance the alliance with the three pillars of security, economy, and cultural and the people-to-people exchanges.
- The Details of Japan-U.S. Relations
(1) Reconstruction and the Economy
Prime Minister Noda stated that it is important that the economies of Japan and the U.S. remain robust for the global prosperity and stability and it is crucial that both Japan and the U.S. achieve both economic growth and fiscal reconstruction while closely coordinating through multilateral frameworks such as G20. As for the European debt issue, he further expressed his idea that it was essential that European countries stood together and promptly dealt with the issue at first. Both leaders agreed to cooperate closely to achieve concrete outcome at 2011 APEC in the U.S. Regarding whether to join negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, Prime Minister Noda conveyed his intention to discuss the issue thoroughly and reach a conclusion as early as possible. Furthermore, regarding the issue of U.S. beef imports, the two leaders acknowledged that they would continue the discussions toward a solution acceptable to both countries.
(2) Relocation of Futenma Air Station
Prime Minister Noda stated that the Government of Japan intends to make progress on the realignment of the U.S. forces in Japan, including the relocation of Futenma Air Station, based on the Japan-U.S. agreement and through cooperation with the U.S. He also stated that he would make utmost effort to gain the understanding of the people in Okinawa.
(3) Child Custody
Prime Minister Noda explained that the Government of Japan confirmed the policy to move forward with the preparations to conclude the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the Hague Convention) this May, and has been moving forward with the necessary preparation to introduce a relevant domestic bill to the Diet in order to conclude the convention at the earliest possible opportunity.
- Asia-Pacific Region and Global Issues
(1) North Korea
Both leaders came to an agreement to continue the close coordination among Japan, the U.S. and the Republic of Korea (ROK). They also shared the view that it is appropriate to continue bilateral dialogues between the ROK and North Korea, and between the U.S. and North Korea for the time being in order to urge North Korea to take concrete actions. Regarding the abduction issue, Prime Minister Noda once again expressed his appreciation for the U.S. support and asked for continuous cooperation.
(2) Global Issues
Both leaders held a frank exchange of views on global issues such as the situations in Afghanistan, the Middle-East and Northern Africa.