Today, the President and the Prime Minister celebrated one of the most successful bilateral relationships in history. The leaders took pride in the profound and positive contribution this relationship has made to world peace and regional stability and prosperity. The strong Alliance between the United States and Japan helped ensure peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region during the Cold War. Our Alliance continues to underlie the dynamic economic growth in this region. The two leaders agreed that the future security and prosperity of both United States and Japan are tied inextricably to the future of the Asia-Pacific region.
The benefits of peace and prosperity that spring from the Alliance are due not only to the commitments of the two governments, but also to the contributions of the Japanese and American people who have shared the burden of securing freedom and democracy. The President and the Prime Minister expressed their profound gratitude to those who sustain the Alliance, especially those Japanese communities that host U.S. Forces, and those Americans who, far from home, devote themselves to the defense of peace and freedom.
For more than a year, the two governments have conducted an intensive review of the evolving political and security environment of the Asia-Pacific region and of various aspects of the U.S.-Japan security relationship. On the basis of this review, the President and the Prime Minister reaffirmed their commitment to the profound common values that guide our national policies: the maintenance of freedom, the pursuit of democracy, and respect for human rights. They agreed that the foundations for our cooperation remain firm, and that this partnership will remain vital in the twenty-first century.
The Regional Outlook
Since the end of the Cold War, the possibility of global armed conflict has receded. The last few years have seen expanded political and security dialogue among countries of the region. Respect for democratic principles is growing. Prosperity is more widespread than at any other time in history, and we are witnessing the emergence of an Asia-Pacific community. The Asia-Pacific region has become the most dynamic area of the globe.
At the same time, instability and uncertainty persist in the region. Tensions continue on the Korean Peninsula. There are still heavy concentrations of military force, including nuclear arsenals. Unresolved territorial disputes, potential regional conflicts, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery all constitute sources of instability.
The U.S.-Japan Alliance and the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security
The President and the Prime Minister underscored the importance of promoting stability in this region and dealing with the security challenges facing both countries.
In this regard, the President and the Prime Minister reiterated the significant value of the Alliance between the United States and Japan. They reaffirmed that the U.S. Japan security relationship, based on the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States of America and Japan, remains the cornerstone for achieving common security objectives, and for maintaining a stable and prosperous environment for the Asia- Pacific region as we enter the twenty-first Century.
(a) The Prime Minister confirmed Japan's fundamental defense policy as articulated in its new National Defense Program Outline adopted in November, 1995, which underscored that the Japanese defense capabilities should play appropriate roles in the security environment after the Cold War. The President and the Prime Minister agreed that the most effective framework for the defense of Japan is close defense cooperation between the two countries. This cooperation is based on a combination of appropriate defense capabilities for the Self-Defense Forces of Japan and the U.S.-Japan security arrangements. The leaders again confirmed that U.S. deterrence under the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security remains the guarantee for Japan's security.
(b) The President and the Prime Minister agreed that continued U.S. military presence is also essential for preserving peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. The leaders shared the common recognition that the U.S.-Japan security relationship forms an essential pillar which supports the positive regional engagement of the U.S.
The President emphasized the U.S. commitment to the defense of Japan as well as to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. He noted that there has been some adjustment of U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific region since the end of the Cold War. On the basis of a thorough assessment, the United States reaffirmed that meeting its commitments in the prevailing security environment requires the maintenance of its current force structure of about 100,000 forward deployed military personnel in the region, including about the current level in Japan.
(c) The Prime Minister welcomed the U.S. determination to remain a stable and steadfast presence in the region. He reconfirmed that Japan would continue appropriate contributions for the maintenance of U.S. forces in Japan, such as through the provision of facilities and areas in accordance with the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security and Host Nation Support. The President expressed U.S. appreciation for Japan's contributions, and welcomed the conclusion of the new Special Measures Agreement which provides financial support for U.S. forces stationed in Japan.
Bilateral Cooperation Under the U.S.-Japan Security Relationship
The President and the Prime Minister, with the objective of enhancing the credibility of this vital security relationship, agreed to undertake efforts to advance cooperation in the following areas.
(a) Recognizing that close bilateral defense cooperation is a central element of the U.S.-Japan alliance, both governments agreed that continued close consultation is essential. Both governments will further enhance the exchange of information and views on the international situation, in particular the Asia- Pacific region. At the same time, in response to the changes which may arise in the international security environment, both governments will continue to consult closely on defense policies and military postures, including the U.S. force structure in Japan, which will best meet their requirements.
(b) The President and the Prime Minister agreed to initiate a review of the 1978 Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation to build upon the close working relationship already established between the United States and Japan.
The two leaders agreed on the necessity to promote bilateral policy coordination, including studies on bilateral cooperation in dealing with situations that may emerge in the areas surrounding Japan and which will have an important influence on the peace and security of Japan.
(c) The President and the Prime Minister welcomed the April 15, 1996 signature of the Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Japan Concerning Reciprocal Provision of Logistic Support, Supplies and Services Between the Armed Forces of the United States of America and the Self-Defense Forces of Japan, and expressed their hope that this Agreement will further promote the bilateral cooperative relationship.
(d) Noting the importance of interoperability in all facets of cooperation between the U.S. forces and the Self-Defense Forces of Japan, the two governments will enhance mutual exchange in the areas of technology and equipment, including bilateral cooperative research and development of equipment such as the support fighter (F-2).
(e) The two governments recognized that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery has important implications for their common security. They will work together to prevent proliferation and will continue to cooperate in the ongoing study on ballistic missile defense.
The President and the Prime Minister recognized that the broad support and understanding of the Japanese people are indispensable for the smooth stationing of U.S. forces in Japan, which is the core element of the U.S.-Japan security arrangements. The two leaders agreed that both governments will make every effort to deal with various issues related to the presence and status of U.S. forces. They also agreed to make further efforts to enhance mutual understanding between U.S. forces and local Japanese communities.
In particular, with respect to Okinawa, where U.S. facilities and areas are highly concentrated, the President and the Prime Minister reconfirmed their determination to carry out steps to consolidate, realign, and reduce U.S. facilities and areas consistent with the objectives of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. In this respect, the two leaders took satisfaction in the significant progress which has been made so far through the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) and welcomed the far reaching measures outlined in the SACO Interim Report of April 15, 1996. They expressed their firm commitment to achieve a successful conclusion of the SACO process by November 1996.
The President and the Prime Minister agreed that the two governments will jointly and individually strive to achieve a more peaceful and stable security environment in the Asia-Pacific region. In this regard, the two leaders recognized that the engagement of the United States in the region, supported by the U.S.-Japan security relationship, constitutes the foundation for such efforts.
The two leaders stressed the importance of peaceful resolution of problems in the region. They emphasized that it is extremely important for the stability and prosperity of the region that China play a positive and constructive role, and, in this context, stressed the interest of both countries in furthering cooperation with China. Russia's ongoing process of reform contributes to regional and global stability, and merits continued encouragement and cooperation. The leaders also stated that full normalization of Japan-Russia relations based on the Tokyo Declaration is important to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. They noted also that stability on the Korean Peninsula is vitally important to the United States and Japan and reaffirmed that both countries will continue to make every effort in this regard, in close cooperation with the Republic of Korea.
The President and the Prime Minister reaffirmed that the two governments will continue working jointly and with other countries in the region to further develop multilateral regional security dialogues and cooperation mechanisms such as the ASEAN Regional Forum, and eventually, security dialogues regarding Northeast Asia.
The President and the Prime Minister recognized that the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security is the core of the U.S.-Japan Alliance, and underlies the mutual confidence that constitutes the foundation for bilateral cooperation on global issues.
The President and the Prime Minister agreed that the two governments will strengthen their cooperation in support of the United Nations and other international organizations through activities such as peacekeeping and humanitarian relief operations.
Both governments will coordinate their policies and cooperate on issues such as arms control and disarmament, including acceleration of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) negotiations and the prevention of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.
The two leaders agreed that cooperation in the United Nations and APEC, and on issues such as the North Korean nuclear problem, the Middle East peace process, and the peace implementation process in the former Yugoslavia, helps to build the kind of world that promotes our shared interests and values.
In concluding, the President and the Prime Minister agreed that the three legs of the U.S.-Japan relationship -- security, political, and economic -- are based on shared values and interests and rest on the mutual confidence embodied in the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. The President and the Prime Minister reaffirmed their strong determination, on the eve of the twenty-first century, to build on the successful history of security cooperation and to work hand-in-hand to secure peace and prosperity for future generations.