President Obama Speech in Tokyo, Japan; Vows Increased Commitment to U.S. - Japan Alliance - Video 11/14/09
Here is video of a speech delivered by President Obama today in Japan during his Tour of the Asia-Pacific Region. Obama said ties between the U.S. and Japan are "unshakeable," and vowed to strengthen and deepen those ties during his time in office.
Speaking before 1,500 people in a central Tokyo concert hall on the second day of his whistlestop tour of Asia, Mr Obama also pledged his "unshakeable" commitment to Asian security and insisted that the US would not be "cowed" by North Korea's nuclear tests.
Mr Obama said: "I want every American to know that we have a stake in the future of this region, because what happens here has a direct effect on our lives at home.
"This is where we engage in much of our commerce and buy many of our goods. And this is where we can export more of our own products and create jobs back home in the process."
The president reaffirmed the alliance between Japan and the US, which spans nearly five decades and has recently been overshadowed by a dispute over the relocation of American troops in the southern Okinawa region, and their continued presence in Japan overall.
Tension over the issue have been ignited following the landslide victory of Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama in August with his popular promises of a more independent foreign policy stance from its powerful post-war ally.
However, keen to emphasise the strength of their ties, Mr Obama said: "I am beginning my journey here for a simple reason. Since taking office, I have worked to renew American leadership and pursue a new era of engagement with the world based on mutual interests and mutual respect.
"And our efforts in the Asia Pacific will be rooted, in no small measure, through an enduring and revitalised alliance between the United States and Japan."
Referring to the controversial troop relocation plans, Mr Obama said: "We have agreed to move expeditiously through a joint working group to implement the agreement that our two governments reached on restructuring US forces in Okinawa."
But among the talk of foreign policy, nuclear weapons and recovering economies, there were lighter moments: Mr Obama charmed the audience with his memories of a childhood visit to Japan with his mother, during which he visited an ancient Buddha statue in the seaside town Kamakura – but recalls being most interested in consuming the “matcha” green tea ice cream.
He also referred to the small Japanese fishing town Obama, which launched a presidential campaign at the time of his election and is now home to a thriving industry of Mr Obama-themed chopsticks, traditional cakes and kimono, saying: "I could not come here without sending my greetings and my gratitude to the citizens of Obama, Japan." . . . MORE