“When I became Secretary of State nearly four years ago, I broke with tradition and took my first overseas trip not to Europe but to Asia,” then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said after her January 18 meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, one of her final meetings with a foreign counterpart before stepping down as Secretary of State.
“I recognized that America needed to reengage in the region where much of the history of the 21st century is being and will be written. There was no question as to which country I would visit first . . . It was Japan . . . Our alliance with Japan remains the cornerstone of American engagement in the region.”
During four years of Secretary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, Japan and the United States enjoyed unprecedented collaboration – further strengthening an alliance that will continue to flourish under current Secretary of State John Kerry.
Then-Secretary Clinton said, “Our people have stood side by side, and we have strengthened this alliance which has endured for more than six decades.”
During this bilateral meeting, the United States and Japan shared a commitment to strong action in the United Nations Security Council to respond to recent provocations by North Korea. The United States continues to support Japan’s efforts to return Japanese citizens who have been abducted by North Korea. Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Kishida discussed Japan’s possible participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an agreement that offers great economic opportunities to all participating nations.
“We also covered an issue important to both of our nations’ people, the Hague Abduction Convention that allows parents to seek a lawful, timely, and just resolution when a child is abducted by the other parent,” Secretary Clinton said. “We hope that there will be action in the upcoming session of [Japan’s] Diet to pass the necessary legislation.”
On regional security, Secretary Clinton reiterated longstanding U.S. policy on the Senkaku Islands, its treaty obligations to Japan, and the importance of all parties to manage disagreements peacefully.
“As my time as Secretary of State comes to an end, I want to thank the people and leaders of Japan for their partnership and commitment to this alliance,” said Secretary Clinton, speaking for an alliance that will continue to be a source of peace and prosperity in the region and in the world under the leadership of the United States’ new Secretary of State, John Kerry.