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October 19, 2017

Japan’s Abe to US Congress: Let us bring the TPP to a successful conclusion through our joint leadership


Newsroom24x7 Desk

Japanese prime Minister Shinzo Abe (representative photo)

Japanese prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivering a speech at Harvard Kennedy School

Washington DC: Shinzo Abe, the first Japanese Prime Minister ever to address the joint meeting of the US Congress on Wednesday said as for U.S. – Japan negotiations, the goal is near. Let us bring the TPP to a successful conclusion through our joint leadership.

Zooming in on the entire concept of Trans-Pacific Partnership, Abe said; “prosperity was fostered first by the U.S., and second by Japan. And prosperity is nothing less than the seedbed for peace.

Involving countries in Asia-Pacific whose backgrounds vary, the U.S. and Japan must take the lead. We must take the lead to build a market that is fair, dynamic, sustainable, and is also free from the arbitrary intentions of any nation.

In the Pacific market, we cannot overlook sweat shops or burdens on the environment. Nor can we simply allow free riders on intellectual property.

No. Instead, we can spread our shared values around the world and have them take root: the rule of law, democracy, and freedom.

That is exactly what the TPP is all about.

Furthermore, the TPP goes far beyond just economic benefits. It is also about our security. Long-term, its strategic value is awesome. We should never forget that.

The TPP covers an area that accounts for 40 per cent of the world economy, and one third of global trade. We must turn the area into a region for lasting peace and prosperity.

That is for the sake of our children and our children’s children.

As for U.S. – Japan negotiations, the goal is near. Let us bring the TPP to a successful conclusion through our joint leadership.”

Reflecting on the post-World War II phase, Abe said About the post-war phase, Abe said: “70 years ago, Japan had been reduced to ashes.

Then came each and every month from the citizens of the United States gifts to Japan like milk for our children and warm sweaters, and even goats. Yes, from America, 2,036 goats came to Japan.

And it was Japan that received the biggest benefit from the very beginning by the post-war economic system that the U.S. had fostered by opening up its own market and calling for a liberal world economy.

Later on, from the 1980’s, we saw the rise of the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, the ASEAN countries, and before long, China as well.

This time, Japan too devotedly poured in capital and technologies to support their growths.

Meanwhile in the U.S., Japan created more employment than any other foreign nation but one, coming second only to the U.K.”

Abe, who studied in California and also took a job at a steelmaker said the American culture has ‘intoxicated’ him. “in the U.S. rank and hierarchy are neither here nor there. People advance based on merit. When you discuss things you don’t pay much attention to who is junior or senior. You just choose the best idea, no matter who the idea was from”, the Japanese Prime Minister observed.

Eulogising the American example, Abe said: “The son of a farmer-carpenter can become the President… The fact that such a country existed woke up the Japanese of the late 19th century to democracy.”

Focusing on the World War II Memorial that he visited, Abe said” “It was a place of peace and calm that struck me as a sanctuary. The air was filled with the sound of water breaking in the fountains. In one corner stands the Freedom Wall. More than 4,000 gold stars shine on the wall. I gasped with surprise to hear that each star represents the lives of 100 fallen soldiers.”

Expressing deep repentance, Abe said: “The battles engraved at the Memorial crossed my mind, and I reflected upon the lost dreams and lost futures of those young Americans.

History is harsh. What is done cannot be undone.

With deep repentance in my heart, I stood there in silent prayers for some time.

My dear friends, on behalf of Japan and the Japanese people, I offer with profound respect my eternal condolences to the souls of all American people that were lost during World War II.”

Drawing attention to Lt. Gen. Lawrence Snowden in the gallery, Abe said, Seventy years ago in February, he had landed on Iōtō, or the island of Iwo Jima, as a captain in command of a company. In recent years, General Snowden has often participated in the memorial services held jointly by Japan and the U.S. on Iōtō. Next to General. Snowden sits Diet Member Yoshitaka Shindo, who is a former member of my Cabinet. His grandfather, General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, whose valor we remember even today, was the commander of the Japanese garrison during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

The Japanese Prime Minister went on to observe: “What should we call this, if not a miracle of history? Enemies that had fought each other so fiercely have become friends bonded in spirit.”


Source: Citation from Official Website of the Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet (http://japan.kantei.go.jp/97_abe/statement/201504/uscongress.html).

 

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