Japans Imperial Couple Say Goodbye to President Obama

Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko said farewell to U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday morning before his departure from Tokyo to South Korea, the second destination of his four-nation Asian tour.    

Around 9:30 a.m. 12:30 a.m. GMT, the Imperial couple visited a Tokyo hotel where Obama was staying. The Emperor and the Empress shook hands with him, and they had a 15-minute conversation in Obamas room at the hotel.   

When the couple were leaving the hotel, Obama said that he very much appreciates the great hospitality he received during his stay in the Japanese capital and that U.S. citizens feel deep affection for the Emperor and the Empress, as well as the people of Japan.   

During the talks in the hotel room, the Emperor told Obama, “I hope your stay in Japan was comfortable and fruitful,” according to Imperial Household Agency officials.   

Obama responded that he believes the two nations can pass the bonds of friendship from current to future generations by continuing personnel exchanges, the officials said.


Obama visiting Japan in April

Obama is due to meet with the leaders of all four nations, and plans to address diplomatic, economic and security issues, the White House said. In early October he shelved plans to visit Malaysia and the Philippines and attend regional summits in Indonesia and Brunei because of a U.S. government shutdown.

Political analysts said at the time that while the cancellation was understandable given events in the United States, it projected an unflattering image of the United States as politically and economically volatile and ceded the international stage to China.


Read the rest of the story: Obama to visit Japan, three other Asian countries in April.

President Obama Sits With Japan Prime Minister Noda

President Barack Obama met Monday with Japans sixth prime minister in five years to try to strengthen ties with the Pacific economic power still struggling after last years earthquake and tsunami that triggered a nuclear power plant meltdown.

The president and visiting Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda started bilateral talks at the White House, to be followed by a working lunch and then a joint news conference.

Japans volatile domestic politics, amid economic sluggishness and the March 2011 tsunami-triggered nuclear crisis, have made continuity a challenge in relations between the World War II enemies turned industrial allies.

Read the rest of the story: Obama meets with Japans prime minister.

APEC: President Obama And Prime Minister Noda Of Japan

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I just want to welcome Prime Minister Noda to Hawaii, to the United States, for this APEC meeting. I had the opportunity to have my first extensive discussions with the Prime Minister recently, and I have been extremely impressed already with the boldness of his vision. And we confirmed, once again, the importance for both of our countries — the alliance between the United States and Japan is the cornerstone of our relationship but also for security in the Asia-Pacific region for a very long time and I’m confident that working together we can continue to build on that relationship in the areas of commerce, the areas of security, in not only the Asia-Pacific region but around the world.

And Prime Minister Noda, welcome to Honolulu, where I’m sure that we’ll have another round of productive discussions. And I want to thank you and the people of Japan for your friendship. We continue also, by the way, to be concerned about the rebuilding process in the wake of the terrible earthquake and tsunami. And I want to assure you that the American people continue to stand beside you and ready to help in any way they can.

Read the rest of the story: Remarks By President Obama And Prime Minister Noda Of Japan.

Obama meets new Japan PM, seeks progress on US Marine base relocation

President Barack Obama vowed continued U.S. help for key ally Japan to rebuild after its devastating earthquake and tsunami but also pushed for progress on a long-delayed plan to relocate American forces in the country.

Obama held his first meeting Wednesday with Yoshihiko Noda, Japan’s newest prime minister. Noda has held office for less than a month and faces domestic challenges beyond the natural disasters, including a stagnant economy and a crushing national debt. The two leaders met on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

Noda is Japan’s sixth prime minister in five years. He also said rebuilding is his top priority. More than 20,000 people died or were left missing after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan that sent a nuclear power plant into meltdown. It was the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl and led another 100,000 people to leave their homes because of a radiation threat.

Read the rest of the story: Obama meets new Japan PM, seeks progress on US Marine base relocation.

Obama blames Japan, Europe and fuel for slow economic recovery

President Barack Obama is pointing to problems in Japan and Europe as challenges for the U.S. economy, placing some blame on events abroad for a domestic recovery that is showing signs of slowing down.Government data released on Friday showed employers in May hired the fewest number of workers in eight months and U.S. unemployment rose to 9.1 percent, up from 9.0 percent in April.That bump is a political challenge for the president, whose re-election in 2012 may depend on his ability to convince voters that his economic policies have been successful.

Read the rest of the story: Obama: Japan, Europe and fuel pose economic risks.

Obama pledges U.S. support for Japan in call to Kan

President Barack Obama told Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan in a call on Wednesday the United States will do all it can to help Japan recover from an earthquake and tsunami, the White House said.

"The president briefed Prime Minister Kan on the additional support being provided by the U.S., including specialized military assets with expertise in nuclear response and consequence management," the White House said in a statement after the two leaders spoke by phone.

"Prime Minister Kan briefed the president on the status of Japanese actions to contain the nuclear emergency and to bring the situation under control."

Read the rest of the story: Obama pledges U.S. support for Japan in call with Kan.

Obama in Japan to attend 2nd economic summit, during tour of Asia

President Barack Obama has arrived in Japan to attend a regional economic summit.

It is the fourth and final stop on the president’s 10-day, four-country economic and goodwill tour of Asia. The president will spend Saturday and Sunday participating in meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. The group of 21 economies is taking steps to create a sprawling Pacific-wide free trade zone.

Obama arrived in Japan on Friday after spending two days in South Korea at a separate economic summit, a meeting of the Group of 20 developed and developing economies. He suffered a setback there when the U.S. and South Korea failed to complete a long-sought, free-trade deal.

Read the rest of the story: The Canadian Press: Obama arrives in Japan to attend 2nd economic summit, final stop on four-nation tour of Asia.


Futenma Overshadows Hatoyama’s One-on-One with Obama during Nuclear Summit

Japan, one of the postwar era’s strongest anti-nuclear voices, missed an opportunity at the nuclear summit that ended here on Tuesday to translate its commitment to disarmament into a premier spot on an emerging global agenda. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama was overshadowed by those who came to Washington with specific ideas about how to shore up the global commitment to nonproliferation.

Although the issue of nuclear nonproliferation was identified early on as a priority after Japan’s new government took office in September, Mr. Hatoyama, who was seated next to President Obama over dinner, used his one-on-one time to discuss the relocation of the Futenma Marine Air Station on Okinawa, a thorn in the bilateral relationship.

Read the rest of the story: Japan’s Missed Opportunity

Obama Makes Concession on Marine Base – Tokyo, Japan

In an effort to mend fences with Japan, President Obama agreed on Friday to reopen talks on the relocation of the Okinawa base. President Obama announced that he would establish a high-level working group on the contentious issue of the continuing presence of a Marine base in Okinawa, speaking at a news conference just a few hours after he touched down in Tokyo to begin his first presidential trip to Asia.

His decision to, at least in theory, reconsider Japanese concerns about an agreement to move the current Marine base to another area on Okinawa, represents a concession. Less than a month ago, Defense Secretary Robert Gates appeared to have shut the door on reopening the issue, which was agreed to in 2006.

Source: NY Times
Photo: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times