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Clinton, Hashimoto Sign Security Declaration

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 23, 1996 – The Japan-U.S. Declaration on Security signed in Tokyo will maintain U.S. presence in East Asia, said President Clinton and Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto during a press conference.

Clinton said the agreement represents a maturation of the Japan-U.S. security arrangement that has been growing since World War II. Both men believe the declaration is a good starting point for how the alliance will work into the 21st century, officials said.

The agreement maintains U.S. strength in Japan at 47,000, but it is more than just numbers. "The Japan-U.S. Declaration on Security reaffirms that the Japan-U.S security set-up will continue to play an important role, as in the past, in preserving security, peace and stability in the Asia Pacific," said Hashimoto. "And note that it will be the starting point for our bilateral cooperation in the future."

Clinton said the declaration will deepen U.S. cooperation with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces.

Both Clinton and Hashimoto believe the declaration shows the United States and Japan are operating together on the basis of common interests rather than, during the Cold War, opposing common enemies, said White House officials.

The two leaders also discussed moves to reduce the burdens the Japanese people carry on Okinawa. The U.S. military will turn back 20 percent of the land it currently uses on the island. Okinawa's burden sharing became an issue following the rape of a 12-year-old Japanese schoolgirl by three U.S. service members.

"We also discussed the importance of Japan and the United States cooperating with each other to stand up against the threats to humankind and the global community," Hashimoto said.

Clinton echoed those remarks and thanked Hashimoto "for the extraordinarily generous $500 million relief and reconstruction package" for Bosnia. "This is evidence of a powerful commitment to lead the world toward peace and freedom," Clinton said.

The two leaders discussed the situation between Taiwan and China. Both reiterated support for the "one China" policy, but both called for arriving at one China through peaceful means.

They also discussed Clinton's peace proposal for the Korean Peninsula. He proposed four-party talks among China, the Republic of Korea, North Korea and the United States to come to a permanent solution in the troubled area. Hashimoto supports the plan and pledged Japan would cooperate with this effort toward peace.

Officials reported the leaders also discussed democratic and economic reform in Russia, Japanese contributions toward peace in the Middle East, U.S.-Japanese cooperation in countering terrorism, and trade and economic issues.

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