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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 13, 1994
                        REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                          AND EMPEROR AKIHITO
                            The Rose Garden

8:58 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Ladies and gentlemen; Your Majesties; our other distinguished guests from Japan; ladies and gentlemen. We are honored and privileged to welcome this evening the Emperor and Empress of Japan.

You are no strangers to the United States, but it gives me particular pleasure to host you here at the White House on this, the occasion of your first visit to America since you ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne.

As citizens of a relatively young nation, we Americans are honored by your presence, and we deeply value the rich culture and history you represent. You embody a tradition that stretches back century after century, and a people who have brought the world a civilization of great elegance.

At a time when the call of tradition so often clashes with the demands of the modern world, Your Majesties revere your ancestors and your past; and, yet, revel in your own people's extraordinary ability to innovate for tomorrow.

Your personal interest in your nation's cultural heritage is matched by your vital curiosity about the world around you. And your travels have surely taken you far and wide. You have fully pursued professional knowledge; and, yet, in your devotion to your family, you have set an example for us all. Through your words and deeds, Your Majesties have earned the respect and the admiration of the Japanese people. But those are sentiments we Americans also share.

Today, the ties that bind our two nations have never been stronger. The miracles of technology and the common search for democracy, prosperity and peace have brought us together. Exchange between our two peoples has opened windows and shed great light. Yet, there is always more to learn. And as we gather here tonight in 1994, our relationship is still unfolding.

The Japanese poet, Basho, put it well in a haiku that sums up the distance ahead:

              Nearing autumn's close, 
              My neighbor -- 
              How does he live?
              I wonder.
             May Your Majesties' visit provide new answers to that

question and bring our peoples closer still. May your journey across our land be enjoyable and leave you wanting to visit us again. And may the sea that separates us be also a shining path between us.

Your Majesties: Hillary and I thank you for gracing our nation's home tonight. It is with deep admiration and respect for you and the great nation you represent that I now ask all of us to raise our glasses to join in a toast to you and to the people of Japan.

(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)

EMPEROR AKIHITO: Mr. President; Mrs. Clinton; ladies and gentlemen. I would like to express to you my heartfelt gratitude for hosting this dinner for the Empress and myself this evening, and extending to us your warm and gracious hospitality.

We are truly delighted that we had an opportunity to have cordial and friendly conversations with you and Mrs. Clinton this morning here at the White House. It was, indeed, an enjoyable moment of reunion.

Ever since the founding of the United States, the American people, always reflecting on the state of their nation, have striven to change themselves, guided by the sense of what they believe is right. In Atlanta, which was the first stop of our visit, I was deeply impressed by what I glimpsed of the path that your country has thus traveled.

On the occasion of this visit, the Empress and I would like to further our understanding of the past and present of your country, and think deeply about the course that our two countries have followed in the past. I sincerely hope that this visit will, even in a small way, help our two peoples recognize anew the bonds forged by our forefathers between our two countries, and consolidate these bonds further.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I ask you to join me in a toast for the continued health and success of the President and Mrs. Clinton, for the continued happiness of the American people, and for the friendship between Japan and the United States.

(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)

END9:15 P.M. EDT