Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting (SUMMARY)
On Thursday, May 26, Prime Minister Kan held a summit meeting with President Obama for approximately one hour from 6:10 P.M. (1:10 A.M. on May 27, JST), including a 15-minute joint press conference and a 45-minute talk during his visit to France to attend the G8 Deauville summit. The outline of the meeting is as follows: (William Daley, The White House Chief of Staff; Thomas Donilon, National Security Advisor to the President; and William Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs joined from the U.S. side; Tetsuro Fukuyama, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary; Ichiro Fujisaki, Japanese Ambassador to the U.S.; and Koro Bessho, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs joined from the Japanese side).
1 Japan-U.S. Relations
(1) The Outline
President Obama stated that he was pleased to meet with Prime Minister Kan again and that while Prime Minister Kan must be spending most of the time on recovery and reconstruction, he would like to ask what the U.S. could further do for Japan. Prime Minister Kan once again appreciated the enormous U.S. assistance received since the earthquake and expressed his intention to put the nuclear power stations into a condition of cold shutdown by next January as they were becoming somewhat stable thanks to the assistance from the U.S.
Prime Minister Kan stated that reviving and recovering without fail, Japan will participate in various activities related to global issues with the U.S. and further demonstrate its capability. He also expressed his intention to continue to deepen the Japan-U.S. alliance in areas such as security, economy, cultural and people-to-people exchanges in order to deal with global and regional challenges.
President Obama stated that though it may probably be in the middle of recovery and reconstruction, strong Japan is considerably important, and appreciated Prime Minister Kan's message that despite the great disaster, Japan will effectively take part in various issues regarding the economy and peace on the world stage, adding that the U.S. is more than willing to assist Japan's recovery.
(2) Diplomatic Schedule
President Obama extended an invitation to Prime Minister Kan to visit the U.S. in the first half of September. Prime Minister Kan expressed his appreciation for the invitation, saying he would like to steadily proceed with preparation and make the visit worthwhile.
The two leaders agreed on holding the "2+2" Meeting (the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee) in late June, on the assumption that the approval be obtained from the Japanese Diet.
Furthermore Prime Minister Kan said he will welcome Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Japan this summer, which is currently under consideration. Both leaders agreed that Japan and the U.S. would further coordinate the schedule hereafter regarding all these events.
(3) Relocation of Futenma Air Station
Prime Minister Kan stated that the Government of Japan intends to implement steadily the Japan-U.S. agreement of May, 2010, even after the earthquake and that based on the agreement, he would like to make progress through cooperation with the U.S.
President Obama stated that, taking note of a political challenge, he would also like to make progress on this matter for the long-term stability of the Japan-U.S. alliance.
(4) Reconstruction and Economy
In reference to reconstruction of the disaster, Prime Minister Kan said that he would like to proceed with various efforts conducive to regaining the trust in the Japanese economy based on the public-private partnership, which had been announced on the occasion of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Japan last month. He added that he would like to eventually consider having opportunities for the exchange of views with organizations in charge of the reconstruction.
Prime Minister Kan said that he would maintain the fundamental concept of the "Basic Policy on Comprehensive Economic Partnership," and reconsider concrete procedure for it. He also mentioned that he would like to continuously proceed with Japan-U.S. cooperation, including through APEC meetings hosted by U.S. toward the promotion of trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.
Regarding the issue of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Prime Minister Kan stated that it concerned the rebuilding of agriculture in the affected areas and that he would thoroughly discuss the issue taking into consideration such factors. He also stated that although Japan's decision on the timing whether to join negotiations for the TPP was delayed due to the disaster, he would reconsider it from an overall perspective and make a decision at the earliest possible opportunity.
President Obama stated the U.S. recognized that the TPP would contribute to the development of the Asia-Pacific region. Showing his understanding of the delay caused by the disaster, President Obama appreciated that Japan continues to consider the TPP in spite of the disaster.
(5) Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges
Prime Minister Kan expressed his condolences on the deaths in the disaster of the two American participants in the JET programme and mentioned the plan to implement youth invitation programs in memory of these individuals. He also introduced the plan to implement the young English teacher dispatch program from July, which he had announced last November. Moreover, he stated that further encouragement of people-to-people exchanges is necessary and that he would like to discuss further measures taken by both countries.
(6) 1980 Hague Convention
Prime Minister Kan stated that the Government of Japan decided, at the Cabinet meeting of May 20, to move forward with the preparations to conclude the Hague Convention.
2 Middle East
(1) Middle East and Northern Africa
Prime Minister Kan said that he will support the U.S. policy on assisting the transition to democratization, which President Obama had declared in his Middle East policy speech.
President Obama mentioned that although the situations in the Middle East and Northern Africa are changing rapidly, he would like to work closely with Japan on this issue. He also expressed that he would like to stay in close coordination with Japan in dealing with Iran.
(2) Afghanistan and Pakistan
Regarding assistance to Afghanistan, Prime Minister Kan said that Japan would intend to maintain and steadily implement its commitments. He mentioned that Japan shared the view with the U.S. that the role of Pakistan is important and, that Japan would continue its assistance to Pakistan. He also said he hopes that Japan will positively influence Afghanistan.
President Obama greatly appreciated the announcement of Japan's continued assistance to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
3 Asia-Pacific Region
(1) Japan-China-ROK Summit Meeting
Prime Minister Kan noted that Japan-China-ROK Summit Meeting was held previous week in Tokyo, that Japan-China relations are on the path of improving compared with late last year, and that he wanted to work with the U.S. so that China's development will constructively influence the peace and security of the region.
(2) North Korea
Prime Minister Kan said that he was strongly concerned about the uranium enrichment activities in particular and expressed his intention to call for China's efforts to further press North Korea towards denuclearization. He also asked for the continued strong support on the abduction issue from the U.S.
President Obama stated that the U.S. shares with Japan the same recognition concerning the North Korean situation and that he would like to closely coordinate with Japan. Furthermore, he mentioned that he would like to make progress in the denuclearization process in coordination with China and the Republic of Korea.