Thank you so much. Arigatou. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
Good morning. It is a great honor to be in Tokyo -- the first
stop on my first visit to Asia as President of the United
States. (Applause.) Thank you. It is good to be among so many
of you -- Japanese and I see a few Americans here -- (applause)
-- who work every day to strengthen the bonds between our
two countries, including my longtime friend and our new ambassador
to Japan, John Roos. (Applause.)
It is wonderful to be back in Japan. Some of you may be aware
that when I was a young boy, my mother brought me to Kamakura,
where I looked up at that centuries-old symbol of peace and
tranquility -- the great bronze Amida Buddha. And as a child,
I was more focused on the matcha ice cream. (Laughter.) And
I want to thank Prime Minister Hatoyama for sharing some of
those memories with more ice cream last night at dinner. (Laughter
and applause.) Thank you very much. But I have never forgotten
the warmth and the hospitality that the Japanese people showed
a young American far from home.
And I feel that same spirit on this visit: In the gracious
welcome of Prime Minister Hatoyama. In the extraordinary honor
of the meeting with Their Imperial Majesties, the Emperor
and Empress, on the 20th anniversary of his ascension to the
Chrysanthemum Throne. In the hospitality shown by the Japanese
people. And of course, I could not come here without sending
my greetings and gratitude to the citizens of Obama, Japan.
Now, I am beginning my journey here for a simple reason.
Since taking office, I have worked to renew American leadership
and pursue a new era of engagement with the world based on
mutual interests and mutual respect. And our efforts in the
Asia Pacific will be rooted, in no small measure, through
an enduring and revitalized alliance between the United States
From my very first days in office, we have worked to strengthen
the ties that bind our nations. The first foreign leader that
I welcomed to the White House was the Prime Minister of Japan,
and for the first time in nearly 50 years, the first foreign
trip by an American Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was
to Asia, starting in Japan. (Applause.)
In two months, our alliance will mark its 50th anniversary
-- a day when President Dwight Eisenhower stood next to Japan's
Prime Minister and said that our two nations were creating
"an indestructible partnership" based on "equality
and mutual understanding."
In the half-century since, that alliance has endured as a
foundation for our security and prosperity. It has helped
us become the world's two largest economies, with Japan emerging
as America's second-largest trading partner outside of North
America. It has evolved as Japan has played a larger role
on the world stage, and made important contributions to stability
around the world -- from reconstruction in Iraq, to combating
piracy off the Horn of Africa, to assistance for the people
of Afghanistan and Pakistan -- most recently through its remarkable
leadership in providing additional commitments to international
development efforts there.
Above all, our alliance has endured because it reflects our
common values -- a belief in the democratic right of free
people to choose their own leaders and realize their own dreams;
a belief that made possible the election of both Prime Minister
Hatoyama and myself on the promise of change. And together,
we are committed to providing a new generation of leadership
for our people and our alliance.
That is why, at this critical moment in history, the two
of us have not only reaffirmed our alliance -- we've agreed
to deepen it. We've agreed to move expeditiously through a
joint working group to implement the agreement that our two
governments reached on restructuring U.S. forces in Okinawa.
And as our alliance evolves and adapts for the future, we
will always strive to uphold the spirit that President Eisenhower
described long ago -- a partnership of equality and mutual
But while our commitment to this region begins in Japan,
it doesn't end here. The United States of America may have
started as a series of ports and cities along the Atlantic
Ocean, but for generations we have also been a nation of the
Pacific. Asia and the United States are not separated by this
great ocean; we are bound by it. We are bound by our past
-- by the Asian immigrants who helped build America, and the
generations of Americans in uniform who served and sacrificed
to keep this region secure and free. We are bound by our shared
prosperity -- by the trade and commerce upon which millions
of jobs and families depend. And we are bound by our people
-- by the Asian Americans who enrich every segment of American
life, and all the people whose lives, like our countries,
My own life is a part of that story. I am an American President
who was born in Hawaii and lived in Indonesia as a boy. My
sister Maya was born in Jakarta, and later married a Chinese-Canadian.
My mother spent nearly a decade working in the villages of
Southeast Asia, helping women buy a sewing machine or an education
that might give them a foothold in the world economy. So the
Pacific Rim has helped shape my view of the world.
And since that time, perhaps no region has changed as swiftly
or dramatically. Controlled economies have given way to open
markets. Dictatorships have become democracies. Living standards
have risen while poverty has plummeted. And through all these
changes, the fortunes of America and the Asia Pacific have
become more closely linked than ever before.
So I want everyone to know, and I want everybody in America
to know, that we have a stake in the future of this region,
because what happens here has a direct effect on our lives
at home. This is where we engage in much of our commerce and
buy many of our goods. And this is where we can export more
of our own products and create jobs back home in the process.
This is a place where the risk of a nuclear arms race threatens
the security of the wider world, and where extremists who
defile a great religion plan attacks on both our continents.
And there can be no solution to our energy security and our
climate challenge without the rising powers and developing
nations of the Asia Pacific.
To meet these common challenges, the United States looks
to strengthen old alliances and build new partnerships with
the nations of this region. To do this, we look to America's
treaty alliances with Japan, South Korea, Australia, Thailand
and the Philippines -- alliances that are not historical documents
from a bygone era, but abiding commitments to each other that
are fundamental to our shared security.
These alliances continue to provide the bedrock of security
and stability that has allowed the nations and peoples of
this region to pursue opportunity and prosperity that was
unimaginable at the time of my first childhood visit to Japan.
And even as American troops are engaged in two wars around
the world, our commitment to Japan's security and to Asia's
security is unshakeable -- (applause) -- and it can be seen
in our deployments throughout the region -- above all, through
our young men and women in uniform, of whom I am so proud.
Now, we look to emerging nations that are poised as well
to play a larger role -- both in the Asia Pacific region and
the wider world; places like Indonesia and Malaysia that have
adopted democracy, developed their economies, and tapped the
great potential of their own people.
We look to rising powers with the view that in the 21st century,
the national security and economic growth of one country need
not come at the expense of another. I know there are many
who question how the United States perceives China's emergence.
But as I have said, in an interconnected world, power does
not need to be a zero-sum game, and nations need not fear
the success of another. Cultivating spheres of cooperation
-- not competing spheres of influence -- will lead to progress
in the Asia Pacific. (Applause.)
Now, as with any nation, America will approach China with
a focus on our interests. And it's precisely for this reason
that it is important to pursue pragmatic cooperation with
China on issues of mutual concern, because no one nation can
meet the challenges of the 21st century alone, and the United
States and China will both be better off when we are able
to meet them together. That's why we welcome China's effort
to play a greater role on the world stage -- a role in which
their growing economy is joined by growing responsibility.
China's partnership has proved critical in our effort to jumpstart
economic recovery. China has promoted security and stability
in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And it is now committed to the
global nonproliferation regime, and supporting the pursuit
of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
So the United States does not seek to contain China, nor
does a deeper relationship with China mean a weakening of
our bilateral alliances. On the contrary, the rise of a strong,
prosperous China can be a source of strength for the community
And so in Beijing and beyond, we will work to deepen our
strategic and economic dialogue, and improve communication
between our militaries. Of course, we will not agree on every
issue, and the United States will never waver in speaking
up for the fundamental values that we hold dear -- and that
includes respect for the religion and cultures of all people
-- because support for human rights and human dignity is ingrained
in America. But we can move these discussions forward in a
spirit of partnership rather than rancor.
In addition to our bilateral relations, we also believe that
the growth of multilateral organizations can advance the security
and prosperity of this region. I know that the United States
has been disengaged from many of these organizations in recent
years. So let me be clear: Those days have passed. As a Asia
Pacific nation, the United States expects to be involved in
the discussions that shape the future of this region, and
to participate fully in appropriate organizations as they
are established and evolve. (Applause.)
That is the work that I will begin on this trip. The Asia
Pacific Economic Cooperation forum will continue to promote
regional commerce and prosperity, and I look forward to participating
in that forum this evening. ASEAN will remain a catalyst for
Southeast Asian dialogue, cooperation and security, and I
look forward to becoming the first American President to meet
with all 10 ASEAN leaders. (Applause.) And the United States
looks forward to engaging with the East Asia Summit more formally
as it plays a role in addressing the challenges of our time.
We seek this deeper and broader engagement because we know
our collective future depends on it. And I'd like to speak
for a bit about what that future might look like, and what
we must do to advance our prosperity, our security, and our
universal values and aspirations.
First, we must strengthen our economic recovery, and pursue
growth that is both balanced and sustained.
The quick, unprecedented and coordinated action taken by
Asia Pacific nations and others has averted economic catastrophe,
and helped us to begin to emerge from the worst recession
in generations. And we have taken the historic step of reforming
our international economic architecture, so that the G20 is
now the premier forum for international economic cooperation.
Now, this shift to the G20, along with the greater voice
that is being given to Asian nations in international financial
institutions, clearly demonstrates the broader, more inclusive
engagement that America seeks in the 21st century. And as
a key member of the G8, Japan has and will continue to play
a leading and vital role in shaping the future of the international
financial architecture. (Applause.)
Now that we are on the brink of economic recovery, we must
also ensure that it can be sustained. We simply cannot return
to the same cycles of boom and bust that led to a global recession.
We can't follow the same policies that led to such imbalanced
growth. One of the important lessons this recession has taught
us is the limits of depending primarily on American consumers
and Asian exports to drive growth -- because when Americans
found themselves too heavily in debt or lost their jobs and
were out of work, demand for Asian goods plummeted. When demand
fell sharply, exports from this region fell sharply. Since
the economies of this region are so dependent on exports,
they stopped growing. And the global recession only deepened.
So we have now reached one of those rare inflection points
in history where we have the opportunity to take a different
path. And that must begin with the G20 pledge that we made
in Pittsburgh to pursue a new strategy for balanced economic
I'll be saying more about this in Singapore, but in the United
States, this new strategy will mean that we save more and
spend less, reform our financial systems, reduce our long-term
deficit and borrowing. It will also mean a greater emphasis
on exports that we can build, produce, and sell all over the
world. For America, this is a jobs strategy. Right now, our
exports support millions upon millions of well-paying American
jobs. Increasing those exports by just a small amount has
the potential to create millions more. These are jobs making
everything from wind turbines and solar panels to the technology
that you use every day.
For Asia, striking this better balance will provide an opportunity
for workers and consumers to enjoy higher standards of living
that their remarkable increases in productivity have made
possible. It will allow for greater investments in housing
and infrastructure and the service sector. And a more balanced
global economy will lead to prosperity that reaches further
For decades, the United States has had one of the most open
markets in the world, and that openness has helped to fuel
the success of so many countries in this region and others
over the last century. In this new era, opening other markets
around the globe will be critical not just to America's prosperity,
but to the world's, as well.
An integral part of this new strategy is working towards
an ambitious and balanced Doha agreement -- not any agreement,
but an agreement that will open up markets and increase exports
around the world. We are ready to work with our Asian partners
to see if we can achieve that objective in a timely fashion
-- and we invite our regional trading partners to join us
at the table.
We also believe that continued integration of the economies
of this region will benefit workers, consumers, and businesses
in all our nations. Together, with our South Korean friends,
we will work through the issues necessary to move forward
on a trade agreement with them. The United States will also
be engaging with the Trans-Pacific Partnership countries with
the goal of shaping a regional agreement that will have broad-based
membership and the high standards worthy of a 21st century
Working in partnership, this is how we can sustain this recovery
and advance our common prosperity. But it's not enough to
pursue growth that is balanced. We also need growth that is
sustainable -- for our planet and the future generations that
will live here.
Already, the United States has taken more steps to combat
climate change in 10 months than we have in our recent history
-- (applause) -- by embracing the latest science, by investing
in new energy, by raising efficiency standards, forging new
partnerships, and engaging in international climate negotiations.
In short, America knows there is more work to do -- but we
are meeting our responsibility, and will continue to do so.
And that includes striving for success in Copenhagen. I have
no illusions that this will be easy, but the contours of a
way forward are clear. All nations must accept their responsibility.
Those nations, like my own, who have been the leading emitters
must have clear reduction targets. Developing countries will
need to take substantial actions to curb their emissions,
aided by finance and technology. And there must be transparency
and accountability for domestic actions.
Each of us must do what we can to grow our economies without
endangering our planet -- and we must do it together. But
the good news is that if we put the right rules and incentives
in place, it will unleash the creative power of our best scientists,
engineers, and entrepreneurs. It will lead to new jobs, new
businesses, and entire new industries. And Japan has been
at the forefront on this issue. We are looking forward to
being a important partner with you as we achieve this critical
global goal. (Applause.)
Yet, even as we confront this challenge of the 21st century,
we must also redouble our efforts to meet a threat to our
security that is the legacy of the 20th century -- the danger
posed by nuclear weapons.
In Prague, I affirmed America's commitment to rid the world
of nuclear weapons, and laid out a comprehensive agenda to
pursue this goal. (Applause.) I am pleased that Japan has
joined us in this effort, for no two nations on Earth know
better what these weapons can do, and together we must seek
a future without them. This is fundamental to our common security,
and this is a great test of our common humanity. Our very
future hangs in the balance.
Now, let me be clear: So long as these weapons exist, the
United States will maintain a strong and effective nuclear
deterrent that guarantees the defense of our allies -- including
South Korea and Japan. (Applause.)
But we must recognize that an escalating nuclear arms race
in this region would undermine decades of growth and prosperity.
So we are called upon to uphold the basic bargain of the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty -- that all nations have a right
to peaceful nuclear energy; that nations with nuclear weapons
have a responsibility to move toward nuclear disarmament;
and those without nuclear weapons have a responsibility to
Indeed, Japan serves as an example to the world that true
peace and power can be achieved by taking this path. (Applause.)
For decades, Japan has enjoyed the benefits of peaceful nuclear
energy, while rejecting nuclear arms development -- and by
any measure, this has increased Japan's security and enhanced
To meet our responsibilities and to move forward with the
agenda I laid out in Prague, we have passed, with the help
of Japan, a unanimous U.N. Security Council resolution embracing
this international effort. We are pursuing a new agreement
with Russia to reduce our nuclear stockpiles. We will work
to ratify and bring into force the test ban treaty. (Applause.)
And next year at our Nuclear Security Summit, we will advance
our goal of securing all the world's vulnerable nuclear materials
within four years.
Now, as I've said before, strengthening the global nonproliferation
regime is not about singling out any individual nations. It's
about all nations living up to their responsibilities. That
includes the Islamic Republic of Iran. And it includes North
For decades, North Korea has chosen a path of confrontation
and provocation, including the pursuit of nuclear weapons.
It should be clear where this path leads. We have tightened
sanctions on Pyongyang. We have passed the most sweeping U.N.
Security Council resolution to date to restrict their weapons
of mass destruction activities. We will not be cowed by threats,
and we will continue to send a clear message through our actions,
and not just our words: North Korea's refusal to meet its
international obligations will lead only to less security
-- not more.
Yet there is another path that can be taken. Working in tandem
with our partners -- supported by direct diplomacy -- the
United States is prepared to offer North Korea a different
future. Instead of an isolation that has compounded the horrific
repression of its own people, North Korea could have a future
of international integration. Instead of gripping poverty,
it could have a future of economic opportunity -- where trade
and investment and tourism can offer the North Korean people
the chance at a better life. And instead of increasing insecurity,
it could have a future of greater security and respect. This
respect cannot be earned through belligerence. It must be
reached by a nation that takes its place in the international
community by fully living up to its international obligations.
So the path for North Korea to realize this future is clear:
a return to the six-party talks; upholding previous commitments,
including a return to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty;
and the full and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean
Peninsula. And full normalization with its neighbors can also
only come if Japanese families receive a full accounting of
those who have been abducted. (Applause.) These are all steps
that can be taken by the North Korean government if they are
interested in improving the lives of their people and joining
the community of nations.
And as we are vigilant in confronting this challenge, we
will stand with all of our Asian partners in combating the
transnational threats of the 21st century: by rooting out
the extremists who slaughter the innocent, and stopping the
piracy that threatens our sea lanes; by enhancing our efforts
to stop infectious disease, and working to end extreme poverty
in our time; and by shutting down the traffickers who exploit
women, children and migrants, and putting a stop to this scourge
of modern-day slavery once and for all. Indeed, the final
area in which we must work together is in upholding the fundamental
rights and dignity of all human beings.
The Asia Pacific region is rich with many cultures. It is
marked by extraordinary traditions and strong national histories.
And time and again, we have seen the remarkable talent and
drive of the peoples of this region in advancing human progress.
Yet this much is also clear -- indigenous cultures and economic
growth have not been stymied by respect for human rights;
they have been strengthened by it. Supporting human rights
provides lasting security that cannot be purchased in any
other way -- that is the story that can be seen in Japan's
democracy, just as it can be seen in America's democracy.
The longing for liberty and dignity is a part of the story
of all peoples. For there are certain aspirations that human
beings hold in common: the freedom to speak your mind, and
choose your leaders; the ability to access information, and
worship how you please; confidence in the rule of law, and
the equal administration of justice. These are not impediments
to stability, they are the cornerstones of stability. And
we will always stand on the side of those who seek these rights.
That truth, for example, guides our new approach to Burma.
Despite years of good intentions, neither sanctions by the
United States nor engagement by others succeeded in improving
the lives of the Burmese people. So we are now communicating
directly with the leadership to make it clear that existing
sanctions will remain until there are concrete steps toward
democratic reform. We support a Burma that is unified, peaceful,
prosperous, and democratic. And as Burma moves in that direction,
a better relationship with the United States is possible.
There are clear steps that must be taken -- the unconditional
release of all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu
Kyi; an end to conflicts with minority groups; and a genuine
dialogue between the government, the democratic opposition
and minority groups on a shared vision for the future. That
is how a government in Burma will be able to respond to the
needs of its people. That is the path that will bring Burma
true security and prosperity. (Applause.)
These are steps that the United States will take to improve
prosperity, security, and human dignity in the Asia Pacific.
We will do so through our close friendship with Japan -- which
will always be a centerpiece of our efforts in the region.
We will do so as a partner -- through the broader engagement
that I've discussed today. We will do so as a Pacific nation
-- with a President who was shaped in part by this piece of
the globe. And we will do so with the same sense of purpose
that has guided our ties with the Japanese people for nearly
The story of how these ties were forged dates back to the
middle of the last century, sometime after the guns of war
had quieted in the Pacific. It was then that America's commitment
to the security and stability of Japan, along with the Japanese
peoples' spirit of resilience and industriousness, led to
what's been called "the Japanese miracle" -- a period
of economic growth that was faster and more robust than anything
the world had seen for some time.
In the coming years and decades, this miracle would spread
throughout the region, and in a single generation the lives
and fortunes of millions were forever changed for the better.
It is progress that has been supported by a hard-earned peace,
and strengthened by new bridges of mutual understanding that
have bound together the nations of this vast and sprawling
But we know that there's still work to be done -- so that
new breakthroughs in science and technology can lead to jobs
on both sides of the Pacific, and security from a warming
planet; so that we can reverse the spread of deadly weapons,
and -- on a divided peninsula -- the people of South can be
freed from fear, and those in the North can live free from
want; so that a young girl can be valued not for her body
but for her mind; and so that young people everywhere can
go as far as their talent and their drive and their choices
will take them.
None of this will come easy, nor without setback or struggle.
But at this moment of renewal -- in this land of miracles
-- history tells us it is possible. This is the --America's
agenda. This is the purpose of our partnership with Japan,
and with the nations and peoples of this region. And there
must be no doubt: As America's first Pacific President, I
promise you that this Pacific nation will strengthen and sustain
our leadership in this vitally important part of the world.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)