Following a meeting in Washington, D.C., with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (joo-NEE-chee-ro koh-ee-zoo-mee), President George W. Bush praised Japan for its contribution to humanitarian and reconstruction projects in Iraq. The Japanese defense forces' six-hundred-member contingent will soon complete its unprecedented and successful humanitarian mission in Iraq. Japan will continue to provide airlift capacity to coalition forces there, as well as naval support to Operation Enduring Freedom.
Mr. Koizumi said through a translator that his relationship with Mr. Bush is not only a personal friendship but also the reflection of close ties between the United States and Japan: (VOICE OF TRANSLATOR) "We've recognized the importance of Japan-U.S. alliance, and also maintain a stance of international cooperation and coordination. . . . This is a very important fundamental policy of Japan that should never change."
President Bush said that the history of U.S.-Japan relations after the Second World War demonstrates how democracy can reconcile nations that were once implacable foes:
"To me it shows the power of liberty and democracy to transform enemies to allies and to help transform the world . . . . It strikes me as just amazing. A lot of people take it for granted. I don't, because sixty years ago we were at war. And . . . . our respective fathers looked at each other with deep suspicion. And what happened was, Japan developed a Japanese-style democracy based upon shared values. And today, we're able to discuss peace. It is a remarkable transformation of a relationship . . . . And one thing about the Prime Minister is he understands that. He's a firm believer in universal values. He believes in freedom. And he's willing to act on those beliefs."
Japan, says President Bush, "is making a mighty contribution to new democracy." That, he says, is strongly in the interest of the United States.
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.