President Clinton Meets With Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi

Office of the Press Secretary
(New York, New York)

For Immediate Release September 22, 1998


Waldorf Astoria Hotel
New York, New York

12:10 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Let me say that I'm very sorry that theweather didn't permit us to go up to Tarrytown today, but I'm pleased towelcome Prime Minister Obuchi and his entire team here. I have alsoinvitedthe Prime Minister to come back for an official visit early next year sothatwe can work very closely together on the challenges we face. The UnitedStates has no more important relationship in the world than ourrelationshipwith Japan -- for common security concerns, to advance democracy and peace,and in our common economic endeavors.

So we just had a good hour-long meeting and we're going tohave a couple of other sessions today, and then early next year we'll haveanother meeting.

PRIME MINISTER OBUCHI: I am very pleased to have thisopportunity of having a discussion with President Clinton extensively on myfirst visit to the United States since I became the Prime Minister ofJapan.

This meeting of mine with the President I had earlier todaybrought home to me the importance of Japan and the United States workingclosely together. And although I am only two months in office and thePresident has experience -- a wealth of experience of over five and a halfyears as President of the United States, we spoke in a very candid mannerasif we knew from before. I think although this was the first time that wemetin this kind of setting, we had a very substantive and important meeting.

Let me take this opportunity to thank President Clintonfor,as he mentioned earlier, extending to me the invitation to visit the UnitedStates early next year. I think that visit of mine will provide a goodopportunity to continue our discussion further. And I do hope to make itrealized. Details, I will instruct our officials to work out with U.S.counterparts.

As we moved from the prior room to this room, we talkedaboutthe third way, but the path that we had in between two rooms were notenoughto complete the subject. (Laughter.) So I do hope to elaborate on thatsubject later on.

Q Mr. President, would you consider an appearancebeforethe House Judiciary Committee in person, as some in Congress havesuggested?

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Plante, I don't have anything toadd to whatever the White House is saying about all this today.I'm here working on a very important thing for the Americanpeople and for the Japanese people. We have to work together torestore growth to the world and to help our friends.

Yesterday, I was here working on terrorism and howto make the global economy work for ordinary citizens. That'swhat I'm doing and I don't have any contribution to make to thatdiscussion beyond whatever the White House has said.

Q Do you pay any attention to what's going onother than this? Do you pay any attention to what happenedyesterday, to what the lawyers are doing, to any aspect of this?

THE PRESIDENT: Not much. Believe it or not, Ihaven't read the report or my lawyers' replies. I think it'simportant that I focus on what I'm doing for the American peopleand that's what I intend to do.

Q Mr. President, are you encouraged from what youheard today that Japan will be able to deal with its fiscalproblems in a swift way and adequately?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think, first of all, let'slook at the facts here. Japan is a very great country with astrong, sophisticated economy and immensely talented people and,as in America now, an increasingly complicated politicalsituation. That is, we have a Democratic president and aRepublican majority in the Congress. They have their government,and in one house of their Diet an opposition with more members.So they have to work out what is politically possible.

I think there is virtually unanimous support in theworld for the kind of financial reforms that would restoreeconomic growth in Japan. The rest of us want to be encouraging.We want to do what we can to be supportive to help do whatever wecan to create the climate which would permit a quick restorationof economic growth in Japan and therefore in Asia. That's whatour objective is, is to understand that they have uniquechallenges, but enormous strengths, and to help find a way to getthis done.

Q Mr. Prime Minister, how optimistic orpessimistic are you about the prospects of getting reforms passedthrough your parliament?

PRIME MINISTER OBUCHI: I'm neither optimistic orpessimistic on this, but I think as much as I do realize, many inJapan would realize, that this is not only an issue for Japan,but something that has major implications on economies of Asia aswell as the whole world.

I think steps we take in Japan to address the issueof financial system has very large implications worldwide. So Ithink with this understanding, I intend to make my very besteffort at addressing this issue. I am convinced that we will beable to do something.

MR. MCCURRY: Thank you very much, ladies andgentlemen, and goodbye.

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National School Modernization Day

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Presidential Mentoring Awards

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Press Briefing

Presidential Welcome

Religious Leaders Breakfast

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Patients' Bill Of Rights

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Opening Session Of The United Nations General Assembly

Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi

African American Religious Leaders Reception

The National Farmers Union

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