Thursday, April 28, 2016

Japanese Ambassador Speaks at USNA on Asia-Pacific Relations

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the U.S. Kenichiro Sasae visited the U.S. Naval Academy April 27th to discuss Japanese and American relations in the Pacific.

The visit included dinner at the Naval Academy Club prior to Sasae's speech in Mahan Hall, in which he talked about the peace and friendship enjoyed by Japan and the U.S. for 70 years.

Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Kenchiro Sasae speaks at the Naval Academy
(Photo by MC2 Tyler Caswell)

“Over these 70 years, through our political and military alliance, the U.S. and Japan have sought progress based on the boundaries of democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights and our economies,” he said.

Sasae emphasized the U.S. military presence that provided assistance after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Japan on Mar. 11, 2011.

“Five years ago, when the most powerful earthquake hit Japan, I was sitting in my office in Tokyo,” said Sasae. “It’s hard to comprehend what happened that day. Over 80,000 people died or went missing. In the midst of this devastation, the USS Ronald Reagan and 7th Fleet rushed to the scene and saved countless lives. Sixty thousand U.S. forces supported the Japanese Self Defense Force. Every citizen of my country will always remember what those forces did for us.”

International relations are a cornerstone of continuing security efforts in a part of the world that has atypical confrontations and influences, said Sasae.

Midshipmen greet Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Kenchiro Sasae
(Photo by MC2 Tyler Caswell) 

“I can tell you, first hand, it is a very complex and unstable situation with North Korea,” said Sasae. “We have to be careful with the risks involved. We have all seen the provocation of North Korean cities lately, whether weapon or nuclear testing, and it has prompted international sanctions. We need to be ready."

Sasae expressed confidence in the combined efforts of Japan and the U.S. to improve the situation in the Pacific. Having served a 40-year career in Japan’s regional divisions and postings at embassies abroad, Sasae spoke with authority on U.S. and Japanese efforts ongoing toward regional stability.

The success is shared with approximately 54,000 military personnel, 42,000 dependents, 8,000 DoD civilian employees, and 25,000 Japanese workers currently in Japan, pushing forward towards that stability, he said.

“We have the largest U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific. It directly contributes to the stability in the region,” said Sesae. “We consider the U.S our best friend. Japan has no better friend in the world than the U.S., and Japan desires to be the same for the U.S.”

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