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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and
Foreign Minister of Japan Ikeda
Remarks at Iikura House
Tokyo, Japan, February 23, 1997
As released by the Office of the Spokesman, Tokyo, Japan
U.S. Department of State

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FOREIGN MINISTER IKEDA: Let me begin my expressing my welcome to Secretary Albright for visiting Japan.
Needless to say the world needs U.S. leadership and its role in the world. The very fact that Secretary Albright has chosen to visit countries in both Europe and Asia in the early days of her office as Secretary of State demonstrates by itself the understanding that the United States has on the important role it has in the world scene and its willingness to take on that leadership role. So I welcome this visit of Secretary Albright.
I am also very happy to know that Secretary Albright has, since taking on the office of Secretary of State, expressed and emphasized the importance of Asia in terms of U.S. foreign policies -- including its relationship with Japan -- and from that perspective also I very much highly regard this opportunity of a visit by the Secretary of State to Japan.
The U.S.-Japan relationship is a very important one in all its aspects, be it economic, political, social or cultural, and we both share much in common. But I must say that this relationship is not only important for both Japan and the United States but also for the international community as a whole, in particular in Asia-Pacific region. It is kind of a of public infrastructure for Asia-Pacific region that we have this strong relationship between Japan and the United States.
I have met Secretary Albright in the past but we have never had the opportunity to have extensive discussion between us. I have heard from many of my friends about her. Her personality, and her insight and her caliber in the matters of foreign affairs and I have always held great admiration and respect for Madame Albright. This is certainly a happy occasion for me to have this opportunity of discussing not only the issues concerning the relationship between Japan and the United States but also on the wide range of international affairs.
I therefore very much welcome this first stage, or opportunity, of what must be a long-lasting working relationship between both of us. However, I must say that I am aware of the fact that she has been to European countries and she has also visited the Republic of Korea and she is set to visit China tomorrow. Amid this very tight schedule I do hope that I will have opportunity of not too long confining her to this small room for heated discussion but also have a more relaxed moment afterward in another room for extended discussion between both of us.
Let me concluded by reiterating my most heartfelt welcome to Madame Albright and I conclude my remarks.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you very much Mr. Minister. It is a great pleasure for me to be here with you in Tokyo today.
As you noted, I have been to Europe. It was my special desire to come to Asia in this first trip to be here at the same time.
The Asian region is equally important to the United States as is Europe because of your great dynamism and our being a Pacific power. We admire particularly what has been going on in Japan as the key to our security in the Asian region. The relationship between President Clinton and Prime Minister Hashimoto has been very warm and they have concluded many discussions together. The great pleasure for me, Mr. Minister, is to meet with you because we have so many subjects to discuss. The relationship between the U.S. and Japan over the last fifty years, I think, can be noted as one of the exemplary post-war World War II relations that has evolved into a full scope relationship. We will not only be discussing various events in Asia, but we will also be discussing events throughout the world.
When I was at the United Nations I had the closest possible relationships with Ambassador Owada and the Japanese mission and there discovered how important it is when we cooperate. As everyone knows, Japan is currently on the Security Council on a rotating basis but the United States supports the permanent membership of Japan on the Security Council.
So Mr. Minister we are here to have some good, detailed talks and I am looking forward to a busy time. Thank you very much for receiving us on a Sunday.


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