Written Responses to Questions Submitted by the Japanese Newspaper Mainichi Shimbun
Death of Daisuke Yamauchi
we turn to matters of policy, let me express to you my condolences on the
untimely loss of the president of the Mainichi Newspapers, Mr. Daisuke
Yamauchi. Mr. Yamauchi knew the
First of all, please allow me, Mr. President, to congratulate you on your
signing of the INF treaty at the
how would you assess the present status of the START negotiations? Will the
treaty be ready for signature when you visit
The President. My recent meeting with
General Secretary Gorbachev in
I don't wish to underestimate the difficulties of this task. In particular, a START agreement presents difficult verification challenges that go well beyond those we faced in INF. However, a START agreement has always been a high priority of mine and would constitute an historic achievement. If the Soviets show a similar commitment to reductions in strategic offensive arms and don't attempt to hold such reductions hostage to restrictions that would cripple SDI, we can conclude an effectively verifiable START agreement.
firmly believe the achievements to date in U.S.-Soviet relations would not have
been possible without the close consultations and unity of purpose between the
United States and our allies, both in Europe and in Asia. Through this
cooperation we have been able to send a clear message to Moscow that the
Western alliance -- and when I use that term I have very much in mind our
allies in Asia as well as NATO -- remains solid and committed to a realistic
security policy vis-a-vis the Soviet Union. We have
always valued highly the advice and support of your government as we have
pursued our dialog with
In the field of world economy, the dollar exchange rate is coming down again,
and stock markets have not quite stabilized yet. What would be your outlook for
the world economy in 1988? What would you want
The President. In the coming year, as our trading sectors more fully adjust to the strong exchange rate signals of the last 2 years, we expect to see continued adjustments in real external imbalances, greater stability in exchange rates, a reduction in uncertainties facing traders, and an improved outlook for investment in our respective economies.
We would ask other countries to pursue the best interests of their consumers by breaking down the structural and policy barriers to imports that prevent them from enjoying a higher standard of living. Other nations also need to build up their domestic infrastructure and generally invest more in their own economies.
What did you achieve through your talks with Prime Minister Takeshita
The President. Prime Minister Takeshita and I achieved a reaffirmation of the importance of U.S.-Japan relations not only to our two countries but to the world. We continued to demonstrate to the world the value of U.S.-Japan cooperation as allies and partners to global peace and prosperity.
I met with Prime Minister Takeshita when he was Minister of Finance, and since he became Prime Minister we have communicated on several occasions and exchanged personal messages. So, it is fair to say we had already established a personal relationship before our recent meeting. If I were to characterize that relationship, I would describe it as the sort of personal relationship one would expect between the leaders of two of the world's largest democracies and the two largest free economies, a relationship based on shared values and interests and mutual trust and respect.
United States-Japan relations are solid. There is hardly an important issue, multilateral or bilateral, on which we do not consult closely and cooperate. We have certain trade differences, but we are addressing them cooperatively, as friends and allies. We will continue to do so.
expect that the
Retaliatory measures hammered out by the Congress against Kansai Airport issue,
as well as Toshiba and semiconductor sanctions, and demands for liberalization
of import of rice and other agricultural products are proving to be highly
sensitive in Japan, imbued with emotional undertones, making it difficult for
Prime Minister Takeshita to implement necessary
policy changes. Would there, after all, not be any possibility of compromise
conceivable, such as a linkage of sorts between
The President. Trade issues in both
our countries are often highly sensitive. In dealing with these issues, we
should seek solutions that are in the overall best interest of each nation and
the international economy and not allow protectionist pressures to hold sway.
Q. What would you expect the outcome of the congressional discussions of the trade bill to be? Would you expect it to be less protectionist, in view of the recent economic developments?
The President. I would welcome a trade bill that is not protectionist. However, the current trade bill in Congress still contains a number of protectionist proposals. I will veto any bill that restricts trade, favors special interests to the detriment of the broader national interest, or includes procedural changes that are protectionist. I have urged Congress to jettison the protectionist features of the trade bill. They made little sense when originally proposed, and they make even less sense today. In my view, trade policy should not be confrontational but should help open markets, increase market incentives and efficiency, and make a positive contribution to world economic stability.
impact of recent economic developments is difficult to predict. It is
encouraging that monthly
How the U.S. Congress will react to economic developments is even more difficult to predict. I would hope that Congress will reconsider certain protectionist proposals that have passed one or both Houses. My opposition to such protectionist measures is as strong as ever.
How would you evaluate the outcome of the recent Korean Presidential election?
Are you optimistic about the
The President. We were pleased that
am optimistic regarding prospects for the East Asian nations in 1988. I expect
peaceful and stable relations within the region, though
What would be your long-range outlook, well into the 21st century, of the
U.S.-Japan relationship, in terms of the development of the
The President. I am very optimistic --
and with good reason -- about the future of U.S.-Japan relations in the coming
century. Already we are close allies. We maintain the largest overseas trading
relationship in the history of the world, and our global interests coincide in
most areas. The reason this remarkable relationship exists is no accident;
rather, it stems from the fact that our two nations share a common set of
democratic goals and principles and because we both believe in the virtues of
an open economic system. I am confident that these shared principles and goals
will continue to guide our two nations, and therefore I am equally confident
that the excellent relations which now exist between
Are you satisfied with
The President. We consider it very
welcome efforts of the Government of Japan to increase aid flows and other
are pleased with measures undertaken by the Government of Japan to enhance
navigational safety and promote peace in the
Note: The questions and answers were released by the Office of the Press Secretary on January 21.