Video Message by Prime Minister Kishida for the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award
My dear friend, Caroline, and distinguished guests,
Sixty years have passed since 1963, and the international community is now at a turning point in history. At this critical juncture, I am truly honored to receive, with President Yoon, this prestigious award named after your father and a masterpiece on political leadership that he wrote.
In the early 1960s, then-President John F. Kennedy and Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda, who founded my political group, Kouchikai, made significant contributions to the improvement of the Japan-U.S. relations, along with their great and lasting achievements in their respective countries. During Prime Minister Ikeda's official visit to the United States in 1962, President Kennedy gave a message to the Prime Minister: 'The Pacific Ocean does not separate Japan and the United States. Rather, it unites us.'
During that time, Japan and the Republic of Korea were holding a series of negotiations on normalization of diplomatic relations. The two countries eventually achieved normalization in 1965. Since then, we cultivated friendship through multi-layered people-to-people exchanges and deepened our ties in the six decades to date. Now, President Yoon and I share a strong commitment to strengthen the bilateral relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea. With my friendship and trust with President Yoon, the two countries will pave the way to a new era, working in tandem as partners.
Today, the Indo-Pacific does not separate Japan, the United States, the Republic of Korea, and other countries in the region. Rather, just as President Kennedy said, it unites all of us. Japan will work closely with the United States and the Republic of Korea, as fellow Indo-Pacific nations, to contribute to peace and stability in the region.
In September 1963, President Kennedy said in his last address made for the international community: 'Peace does not rest in charters and covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of all people.' We political leaders are vested with the responsibility to make our peoples' ties the solid foundation of peace, and to aspire for a tomorrow that is better than today, not only by words but also by taking action.
As the Prime Minister of Japan, I am determined to fulfill this responsibility, working together with President Biden and President Yoon.
Thank you very much.