THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Tokyo, Japan) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release April 17, 1996 REMARKS BY AMBASSADOR WALTER MONDALE AT BREAKFAST MEETING WITH U.S. MEDIA
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: I believe that this summit will be in many ways the most significant and successful of any summits, certainly since the end of the Cold War and certainly would rank among the most important since we resumed relations in 1952. You expect me to say that, but I think there's a very strong case to support that.
When I first got here there was always this nagging question of whether the Japanese public really felt a need for the alliance, the Cold War being over, or whether it was just something that was continuing on its own momentum without any underpinning. What's really happened the last year is with the outrage in Okinawa, that rape really triggered very quickly a different debate -- the rape, of course, was always being discussed, but it was -- a debate began about whether they needed this alliance. And it went on for the better part of a year, and as it went on and as Japan confronted the question of what it would do without an alliance, and as other things occurred, like North Korea, Taiwan, and so on, what we saw was a growing support for the alliance here and a decided policy on the part of the Japanese government to strengthen this alliance, make it clear that it was appropriate and necessary to the post-Cold War world, and to do those things necessary -- and there were many steps necessary -- to make all of that clear and to make it function.
You know, it was easy to explain this alliance when you had one enemy because you could describe the enemy and that took care of the argument. Now the reason is -- and I think it's a valid reason -- that the need for stability in this region -- historically, this region has been very unstable. In my lifetime the three great wars have all occurred out here. And the only source of stability in this region is the U.S.-Japan alliance and the ability of the United States to deploy forces forward -- naval forces, and the rest -- in the case of need.
There is no NATO alliance in this region. There is not going to be one for a long time, if ever. And I think as Japan looked into that, faced it, what we now see is a very solid reaffirmation of the alliance in the post-Cold War era with a whole set of fresh steps and a fresh rationale that moves us into the next century.
In the last year we've taken all kinds of steps that underpin the relationship. The East Asian security report about a year ago in which we affirmed our need for a U.S. presence here, the National Defense Posture statement by the Japanese which strongly reaffirms the relationship, the host nation support system -- they provide very -- the most liberal support for armed forces of any host country in the world. They pay virtually all of the yen costs of our presence here. That was supposed to be controversial, but by the time it passed it passed overwhelmingly in both houses and so on.
We have adopted the Acquisition and Cross-servicing Agreement which is something we've wanted for 17 years that allows the forces to cooperate in peaceful exercises, peacekeeping, humanitarian efforts through swapping of equipment -- not military equipment, but food and fuel and other kinds of help, logistical support and so on, but not military -- how would you put it --
Q Not arms.
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: Not arms, yes. That has been adopted, put in place. We have agreed that force levels should remain at present levels. That was a big debate here -- say, oh, yeah, you need the alliance, but do you need all these people? And as the debate's been going along you will find in the declaration acceptance of force levels. And finally, there's going to be a very strong statement of reaffirmation in the joint declaration.
So I think that the alliance is solid. It's gone through this test and it's passed the test, and all of these actions -- and finally, of course, the keystone was Okinawa. And that was really tough around here. When that occurred, it was a tough political problem. And we have done more serious work on trying to make our presence in Okinawa compatible with Okinawan life, less intrusive, and all the while maintaining our force capabilities and readiness in a nondegraded form. And our capabilities remain unaffected down there.
And I think this has gone -- and it requires a lot of heavy lifting by the Japanese government. But we did these things -- I often say we've done more to try to respond to legitimate Okinawan needs in the last six months than we've done in the last 20 years. And while there are some dissenting voices, the response in Okinawa has been very positive.
I talked to Governor Ota from Okinawa that night, and while he I'm sure will have some other things he wants us to do, he has been basically positive about what we've done. So if you look at the security relationship, all these steps that had to be taken to make it work, every bit of it was done, none of it is bull -- and I think it's solid.
There are other parts of the alliance, our relationship that are important. We cooperate I think rather effectively in a host of areas. You noticed yesterday when the Korean statement came out, the first country out of the box to say, yes, we support it was Japan. They will put up about $500 million for Bosnia before -- they've stepped up to that plate. They are a big contributor. They were working together very closely on KEDO. They'll put up a big chunk of the money for the light-water reactors. So I -- and we're cooperating in a host of other areas.
There's a dynamic Common Agenda that's going forward that will be expanded here. One thing I feel very strongly about is student and cultural exchanges, not a geopolitical thing, but there's a very thin base of American scholarship occurring here. About 45,000 Japanese students in the United States; only about 1,300 Americans here.
Q Way down from --
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: Well, it got up to about 1,700. I think the yen has a lot to do with it; it's so expensive. And most of those are short-timers, so we have a very thin presence here.
The Japanese this time, with the help of the Monbu-sho, which is the Ministry of Education, is going to finance some -- the numbers aren't great, but I think it will really be useful -- some 300 high school students a year will be coming here, starting next year. They'll start this year, but it will build to that figure next year. A large increase in undergraduates who will be coming here. There's a new program they're going to call the Fulbright Memorial that will bring a thousand teachers here to learn here for four or five week stays. An increase in scholarships for scientists, and then exchange programs for school administrators, artists, and so on.
And this is the first time that the Ministry of Education has really stepped in. Reischauer when he was here said they were the last pure Tokugawa Bakufu which means ancient bureaucracy left. They've got a lot of that left, but they stepped up. So I think we're making progress.
I think the relationship is in good shape. Personally, the President and Hashimoto get along fine -- very well, as a matter of fact. I was at that dinner last night. So I think that -- of course, the one area that continues to be a problem is trade.
We've got a good trend going here. I'm sure you've been spun on this -- current account balances, trade balances, and so on. But Japan continues to be too closed, over-regulated, too resistant to market forces. And I think that will be true for a long time. We've been urging them to deregulate and so on. We have made progress; there's no question about it. There are a lot of Americans making money over here. There's a lot of growing imports. The President will visit the Chrysler showroom and you'll see some of that. We're making progress, but we still have a lot of work to do before they're, in my opinion, sufficiently open to the world.
I'll stop there.
Q Still have the effect on the renewal of some -- of the alliance -- (inaudible.)
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: Maybe, but we try -- I would say it's very thin, if it exists. We try to keep the two separate. We're here because it serves our security interests. We're not here as a trade tactic. So we try to keep those separate.
Q Don't you think the threats last year of the trade war and sanctions were bound to antagonize and upset a lot of Japanese, and that would normally spill over into their resentment towards the U.S. military presence?
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: You're asking a little different question. Well, maybe you're asking the same question. What I used to say is that we have trade disputes with all kinds of allies in Europe and Canada and so on, and it does have side-effects, but it doesn't affect the relationship. But I don't want to try it for too long, because these things do spill over. The specialists can keep them separate, but long persistent problems of that kind can have a poisonous effect.
However, the fact of it is that this relationship has to have a healthier economic leg to it. And so, from the beginning, we've been pressing Japan to be more open. And we've had many agreements that have been successful. Japan is changing some because she has to, as well. She's opening up some of her financial markets, really because she has no choice. There is some pressure here at home to change, but it's not very powerful. And so with these large current account and trade imbalances, this is something that must change.
And so, as we sustain our security alliance and the other thing, you can't just turn your attention away from trade entirely, you've got to keep working on it.
Q It was because of the concern right now over the security relationship there is some suggestion that the trade issues are being sort of pushed under the rug right now, that there were four sectors, four areas they were supposed to have some progress -- one of them, the air cargo, they did; the other three they sort of pushed aside. Are they just ignoring this because the military relationship was seen as a little bit in trouble?
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: No, we're pressing them, but we couldn't make any progress. We made a little progress -- we kept the cargo thing, but we didn't make any progress and we're still working on semiconductors and we're still working on film. But there was no progress to report at this meeting. But we're still pressing them.
Q About the time that we spend here, how much do you really believe the government has an impact on trade and how much do you believe the bureaucrats --
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: Oh, I think -- they're related. There's all kinds of government regulation and policies and so on that keep you out of the market. For example, rice. Four percent of the rice that they consume here can come from outside Japan. That's it. That's government policy. There are many, many regulations that prevent you from selling certain kinds of housing material because you've got to have the Department of Agriculture stamp -- they won't give it to you.
We want to bid on the Chubu Airport, an enormous airport, and they say it's not time yet. And we know that all the bids are going in now. So there's a lot of government stuff here. And then there's the famous Japanese name, Keiretsu -- its very deep in Japanese life. These economic and personal relationships that we would call antitrust and anticompetitive practices that would be illegal in the United States not only exist but are more or less honored. And the failure of government to pursue remedies through their Fair Trade Commission and so on, or to have private remedies that would allow you to get the pro-competitive policies under law implemented don't exist here, or barely exist. So in order to get into this market, we have to have policies, government policies that help open it up.
Q If the ruling party or the ruling folks in the government make a decision, does that mean that those who are in -- you know, the people giving out the agricultural stamps really will change if they are told to?
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: One of the problems in trade here is that control over the economy is quite desegregated, that is sprinkled around, so the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications will have a big hunk of television and telephone and so on that they'll run; the Ministry of Agriculture will have forestry and all of agriculture that they'll run. So it's possible to have agreement at the top level that's frustrated once you get into trying to penetrate the market because that particular small part of the government is hooked up with the industry that it protects and the government employees in that ministry will retire with second jobs. They've got the revolving door; they've really got a tight process here for keeping things closed when they want to.
Q I want to ask you a political question about '96. Since Dole has already made it pretty clear that foreign policy and the President's leadership abroad is going to be an issue in the fall, and the President's got a real list of accomplishments that he can point to, and yet there seems to be a problem communicating this to the public. He still seems to be, according to polls, not seen as a real achiever overseas. And I wonder whether you see a problem there and how you would advise him to overcome that as he goes into the campaign against Senator Dole.
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: You're asking that of me? (Laughter.) I carried Minnesota. You know, if true, it sort of stuns me because he has been very active in dealing with Japan. He's been here, they've been there, we've all been engaged -- Kerrey, all of us -- very vigorously. We've gone through a list of issues and accomplishments that have been backlogged here for years. I didn't mention the guidelines that we've agreed to open up which is a big issue here, and they want to do it and we're moving.
And the President met, you know -- and his personal involvement -- the sending of the aircraft carriers was very well received here because it was a sign of stability. It showed American presence. You will find some dissenting voices here, but that was handled with just about the right calibration. So I don't know where this comes from, because -- you expect me to say that, but I don't see it here. I think we've really been doing everything we can.
Q Is there any way to indicate this more strongly at home, given the polls showing he really still has problems in foreign policy?
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: Well, I think in this area it's what people see you doing more than what you say about what you're doing that counts.
Q Mr. Ambassador, where do we stand on wartime emergency military cooperation?
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: That's the guidelines we're talking about.
Do you want to jump into that?
MR. DEMING: In 1978, we put together some guidelines for cooperation on defense between U.S. and Japan to focus on a scenario of attack against Japan, of how the U.S. and Japan would cooperate in those situations. And I think there's been a feeling for the last couple of years that these guidelines are now 18 years old, the Cold War is over, we need to sit down and review where we stand and to look at how the U.S. and Japan might respond to other contingencies beyond simply attack on Japan.
And we're just beginning the process. The security declaration that comes out today will say the U.S. and Japan have agreed to study the review of the guidelines. And this will take a while, but I think the idea on both sides is to -- there are a lot of other areas of uncertainty around the region, and the U.S. and Japan are not really equipped to deal with them. And we need to think about how we might deal with them.
Now, when Secretary Perry was here, he made it very clear that this will -- our perception is that this will be within the constitutional constraints that now exist in Japan. We're not trying to change that fundamentally. But within those constraints there is a lot more we can do to think through how both countries might respond to military emergencies in the region.
Q I just wondered what the morale of the U.S. military is like in the wake of Okinawa.
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: The commanders tell me it's good, but I think it's always worried me down there in Okinawa, particularly that our young people were down there humiliated by that rape, and about 99.99 percent of them were not involved; they were offended by this and hurt by it. The Okinawan community started pulling away from us. It's been a very friendly environment. They're very warm people and a lot of people like their assignment down there. But there was a kind of a frostiness taking over.
And my hope now is that with these steps which have been, I think, rather well received down there, we can see a restoration of some kind of improved relationship between the community and our troops and their families down there. We need it.
Q -- sense though, that among the Japanese people they're doing us a favor by allowing us to keep all these troops here?
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: We always make that point that this is in your interests or you wouldn't be here, you wouldn't want us here, and it's in our interests or we wouldn't be here. And we always make that point. And what you often hear is, well, alliance is fine, but there shouldn't be any bases in my neighborhood. Not an unusual position. And we always say, look, there's no way of having a security alliance and defense structure without bases and planes and guns and troops and without practice and all that goes into it, and so you have to be prepared to take the burden as well as the benefits. And that argument seems to work with the general public.
MR. DEMING: This is also very much an issue between mainland Japan and Okinawa. The Okinawans feel they've been victimized by having to host such a large percentage of American forces, and the Japanese public is happy to have it in Okinawa, but not in their own backyard. That's one of the things the Japanese government is trying to address more and more forthrightly.
Q But you don't get a sense that Americans who are here have a feeling that maybe they're not appreciated and, in fact, are a little bit disliked?
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: No. There was a time right after the rape when they reported that there was a real separation growing between our people and the local community, but that I think is starting to heal now.
Q How would you characterize to the Japanese public, if you were Bill Clinton, the President --
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: I'll ask -- do you take polls on that, Paul?
MR. BLACKBURN: No, we don't.
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: Paul is our information officer.
MR. BLACKBURN: But I would say that when the election campaign was in full bloom in the middle of 1992 when I first got here, it was very clear that the Japanese were rooting for the Republicans to win, feeling that that was the party of inside business and that sort of thing. But since the President came here in 1993, I think the attitude has been very positive. His visit in 1993 for the G-7 summit was a very, very successful event.
And since then he's been seen as very interested in Japan. He's been seen as very serious about trade issues, and that's respected here. And he's been seen as strong on the alliance between the two countries.
Q -- the upside on the -- on trade?
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: I was just going to add that. I think that the new emphasis that this administration has placed on trade has caused some Japanese to wish for a President who would lay off. But the fact of it is, if they look back, no President has been able to lay off because with those huge imbalances, just economic necessity drives that policy. And so I believe that is a reason for some negatives on him that I think is something we should feel good about.
Q Going back -- going into the '96 campaign, do you sense any nostalgia among the public for a Republican President?
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: Look, I was over here as private citizen in October of '92, and I agree with Paul. They knew the Republicans, the Republicans had been around for a long time, they figured the Democrats were protectionists and they wanted nothing to do with us. And they didn't know us.
I think Clinton has cleared away a lot of that concern. There is still this thing about trade, but one of the things that's happened here is that they're seeing that this trade issue is not just a Democratic issue, that they see more and more -- when we had the elections in '94 I think there was a feeling that those new Republicans were going to be the old kind that would not worry about trade with Japan. But they found that there's -- that's not the case.
Q Is there concern about the pandering on both sides to the Perot-Buchanan protectionist sentiment in the United States?
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: Well, they might see it as pandering. I think that it's -- when we sell 400,000 cars to them and they sell 40 million to us, we, in all neutral markets, practically do better than they do, there is a question about how open this is. And now we're making progress. There are very little -- we won't go through all the issues, but there is all kinds of evidence this market is too closed. And I think -- I don't think that is pandering.
I think the need to -- the fact of it is that -- one thing the President has done on trade that has been well received, the fact that he has pushed for WTO, pushed for NAFTA, has not pursued a protectionist policy has been very well received here. And I think that he has been at it consistently long enough so that they are comforted by that.
MR. DEMING: I think his leadership on a couple of key foreign policy issues has really strengthened his reputation here -- Bosnia, Taiwan Straits -- because the Japanese want American leadership and they are very nervous when they see us retreating.
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: Yes.
Q It sounds like you expect trade to reemerge as the major point of contention now that this security thing is over.
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: Well, see we have gone through an awful lot of stuff here -- over 20 separate agreements -- and I think we have made a good deal of progress. One of the best things that has happened where we have opened things like autos is the auto industry is here on the ground with good products, right-hand drives, shaped to the market, selling -- getting outlets, advertising. They are in here competing. A lot of -- the last two years -- now, it takes longer to get to that point, but big change.
And the more we can get American businesses here pushing and moving and shaping their products to the market, the more we are going to see this open up. We are now putting a lot of emphasis on housing and housing material. This country badly needs new housing, better housing. And in order to do that -- their houses cost double, triple an American house, about a third the size. It's really enough to make you cry.
We are now getting some openings in the housing materials field. We are pushing our industry to get in there hard. And we can see a big new market there if that would open. So that's what we are doing all the time. We are not looking for a fight, but we can't live with one-way trade. We have got to keep pressing them to --
Q (Inaudible.) What's the deadline?
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: The last three months it's been 63.4 percent of my time on security matters and 28.3 on trade. (Laughter.) But it depends on the time. You know, last year the auto talks, I would say 80 percent of my time was on that.
Q What's your life like?
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: Oh, it's tough. (Laughter.) We need more money for housing. (Laughter.)
Q Were the Japanese --
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: Let me respond to that. This has been a fascinating time for my wife and me. You know, I had never done anything like this, never been an ex-pat. And this has been a real mind stretch for us. We have had to open up and learn an awful lot about a profoundly different society -- to read, to learn, to meet, visit, and to try to do what we can to shape our presence here in a positive way. And it's -- I'll tell you, I was expecting a sinecure. This is work. (Laughter.) But it really has been a challenge, and I think we have grown. I hope we have grown a little bit. Haven't we?
MRS. MONDALE: I have.
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: I know I've grown.
Q Can you elaborate a bit on how Clinton's personal relationship with Hashimoto is evolving and how it compares to his relationship with previous prime ministers and how important that kind of chemistry is?
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: I think personal relationships are always very important here. They're important everywhere, but I think the way this society works, they put a lot more attention on relationships than on contracts and laws and rules. Just deep in the culture. I think that the President has had a good relationship with all the prime ministers, but they have really been working on this one. In other words, they met in Santa Monica for an hour and a half or so. That went very well. Last night was just dedicated to personal time together, went very well. And there is this element to Hashimoto that his leadership, his decisiveness that we have described earlier that contributes to that. So I think it is going very well.
Q How important is personal relationships between presidents and the kind of relationships --
AMBASSADOR MONDALE: Well, I suppose it's very difficult to have a really good personal relationship where the underlying reality of a relationship is lousy. And that is not the case here. We have our irritants over trade, particularly, and so on. But if you try to sit down and analyze the basic elements of what countries have in common and what their interests are, most times U.S. and Japan are very close.
So -- then if you can add to that a good personal relationship, where a president and prime minister want to make it work and want to work with each other, want to help each other, that really helps. And I believe that's going to be apparent today.
Q To go back to the troops in a war, if the Korean war broke out again, would the Japanese do something different. If it was a Persian Gulf war again, would they say something besides -- is that the idea? Troops -- not troops, but I mean ships and logistics and stuff?
MR. DEMING: During the Gulf War, the Japanese said that was a fire on the other side of the river, as they put it. There was no -- couldn't see any real connection, even the oil thing didn't really register here. Korea has been at the heart of Japanese security for hundreds of years. And while any kind of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula would raise a lot of serious domestic political tensions here, there would be no question that Japan would view this very, very seriously. And that's one of the things, in looking at the guidelines, that we would like to evolve a little further toward a clear understanding on both sides of what Japan could and could not contribute to a situation.
Q The whole idea is that Japan would do more than it has done in these recent times, right?
MR DEMING: Absolutely, absolutely.
Q Not troops, but --
MR. DEMING: There is no question about that.
Q Is there a supreme national interest, that clause in their constitution where if they felt threatened --
MR. DEMING: Article IX in the constitution says more or less -- you know what it says is that Japan will not use force, the threat of force to settle international disputes, and for that reason will not maintain naval or military forces -- it's very clear. And they interpret that as not affecting the right of self-defense, and that's why you have these self-defense forces.