[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: George W. Bush (2003, Book I)]
[May 23, 2003]
[Pages 531-535]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

The President's News Conference With Prime Minister Junichiro 
Koizumi of Japan in Crawford, Texas
May 23, 2003

    President Bush. Welcome. I'm honored to welcome my very good friend 
the Prime Minister of Japan to Crawford. He was a gracious host when I 
visited Japan, and Laura and I are pleased to 
return the hospitality.
    We have met nine times during my Presidency. I know the Prime 
Minister well. I trust his judgment. I deeply respect his leadership. 
Our meeting today affirms the close and unique relationship between our 
two nations.
    For the past half-century, America has been committed to the 
security of Japan and to the stability and prosperity of the entire Asia 
Pacific region. Japan and the United States have a global alliance, a 
partnership based on shared interests and a shared belief in the cause 
of freedom.
    The Japanese Government demonstrated its commitment to peace and 
freedom, along with America, that Saddam Hussein's regime live up to its international obligations. I 
appreciate the Prime Minister's strong leadership on Iraq as well as 
Japan's diplomatic and financial support for key regional states 
affected by the conflict.
    Today Japan is committed to playing a leading role in Iraq's long-
term reconstruction, will also provide immediate assistance for schools, 
medical supplies, and sanitation. Japanese forces will provide 
logistical support for humanitarian and reconstruction activities. I 
thank the Prime Minister for his leadership.
    Around the globe, Japan and America are addressing threats to our 
common security and meeting our common responsibilities. We are partners 
in the war on terror. In

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Afghanistan, Japanese naval ships helped refuel coalition vessels in the 
fight against the Taliban. Today we're working together to complete a 
major highway that will help unify Afghanistan, strengthen that 
country's economy, and weaken the grip of the warlords.
    Our two nations are committed to the fight against global poverty, 
hunger, and disease. We are committed to completing the WTO global trade 
negotiations, so we can advance prosperity around the world.
    The Prime Minister and I also discussed his policies for 
reinvigorating the Japanese economy, including his plans for encouraging 
investment, corporate restructuring, and banking reform. I support the 
Prime Minister's efforts, and I support the Prime Minister's reforms. A 
vibrant, dynamic Japanese economy is in America's interest, and it is in 
the world's interest.
    Our two countries are also determined to confront the threat from 
weapons of mass destruction and the missiles used to deliver them. The 
Prime Minister and I agree that we will deepen and accelerate our 
cooperation on missile defenses.
    On the threat from North Korea's nuclear program, the Prime Minister 
and I see the problem exactly the same way. We will not tolerate nuclear 
weapons in North Korea. We will not give into blackmail. We will not 
settle for anything less than the complete, verifiable, and irreversible 
elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
    We discussed the fact that China has started to play an important 
role in our efforts to address this challenge. At talks held in Beijing 
last month, China called on North Korea to renounce nuclear weapons and 
live up to its agreements. The Prime Minister and I agreed that we must 
broaden these talks to include Japan and South Korea and, at sometime 
later, perhaps others. We are confident that our diplomatic approach 
will bring a peaceful solution. Yet we agreed that further escalation of 
the situation by North Korea will require tougher measures from the 
intelligence community.
    Finally, I assured the Prime Minister that the United States will 
stand squarely with Japan until all Japanese citizens kidnaped by North 
Korea are fully accounted for. I strongly condemn the kidnaping of 
Japanese citizens by the North Koreans.
    Nearly 150 years have passed since the United States and Japan 
opened up diplomatic relations. Since then, we have gone from strangers 
to adversaries to the very best of friends. I look forward to building 
on our strong relationship to meet the challenge of our times.
    Mr. Prime Minister.
    Prime Minister Koizumi. I'd like to express my heartfelt 
appreciation to the President and the First Lady for their heartwarming 
welcome and hospitality. We were able to have in-depth and very candid 
discussions in a warm and friendly atmosphere.
    In the 150 years since the arrival of Commodore Perry to the shores 
of Japan, we have developed into strong allies, and we've been able to 
confirm those strong relations between our two countries, not just in 
the context of a bilateral relationship but also in the global context. 
The Japan-U.S. security arrangements are a pillar that supports our 
alliance. We decided to further promote consultations between our 
Governments and to make our cooperation in the security area even 
    Ballistic missile defense is an important agenda in Japan's defense 
policy, and Japan will further accelerate its consideration. In 
addition, we concurred on the importance of reducing the burden on the 
people of Okinawa.
    Now, the other pillar is the economy. The Japanese and U.S. gross 
domestic products together would account for 40 percent of global GDP. 
So it is vital for the world economy, not just the Japanese and U.S. 
economies but for the world economy, that the Japanese and--or rather, 
it is vital for our two countries as well as

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for the entire world economy that the Japanese and U.S. economies are 
    And the most important mission of my Cabinet is to revitalize the 
Japanese economy. And I have the support of President Bush in my efforts 
to further accelerate structural reforms. And to achieve that goal, I'll 
tackle deflation. I shall never allow a financial crisis to occur. So, 
not just in the security area but also in the economic area, and others 
as well, I would like to promote further cooperation between our two 
countries on various issues, from the perspective of Japan-U.S. alliance 
in a global context.
    We are determined in the pursuit of our fight against terrorism and 
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Now, of course, we have 
different roles and different means to play out those roles. But to root 
out terrorism, Japan and the United States should continue with firm 
determination to join their forces.
    Now, on Iraq, the President made a difficult and brave decision for 
a just cause, and I supported this, and our decision was right. With 
Memorial Day coming up, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences 
to the brave U.S. men and women in uniform who sacrificed their lives 
for the cause as well as to their families.
    I welcome the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1483. And I 
saw eye-to-eye with President Bush that we shall continue to cooperate 
with each other in order to build up international cooperation. Japan 
will actively support Iraq's nation-building.
    And I believe that taking advantage of this cessation of combat in 
Iraq, and through the reconstruction of Iraq, we should--the world, as a 
whole, should cooperate together in order to bring about peace and 
stability in the Middle East. And I would like to express my respect for 
the active efforts the President has been making in the Middle East. I 
shall be visiting Egypt and Saudi Arabia on this trip, and together with 
the Arab countries, I would like to engage in efforts to reconstruct 
    The issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons is a grave challenge to 
the entire world. We will not at all tolerate the possession, the 
development, or the transfer of nuclear weapons by North Korea. North 
Korea must promptly and completely dismantle all nuclear weapons 
development programs in a verifiable manner, and we agreed that we would 
resolve this issue peacefully.
    Coordination among Japan, the United States, and the Republic of 
Korea is crucial to that end. Continuation of the multilateral talks is 
important, and participation by Japan and the Republic of Korea is 
essential. Further escalation of the situation by North Korea would 
require tougher measures.
    In any event, Japan will crack down more rigorously on illegal 
activities, and the North Koreans will have to understand that threats 
and intimations will have no meaning whatsoever. It is extremely 
important for Japan to comprehensively resolve the various issues, 
including nuclear weapons, missiles, and abduction, based on the 
Pyongyang Declaration. And without the resolution of these issues, 
normalization of relations will not occur.
    And I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the President for 
his strong support on the abduction issue.
    In any case, I would like to take this occasion to express my 
heartfelt respect to the President for the strong leadership he has 
exerted since the 9/11 terror attacks the year before last as well as 
the strong determination he showed in addressing--as a wartime 
President. And I would like to say that Japan will, as much as possible, 
strive with the United States for world peace and stability.
    Yesterday and today I spent many hours--and I've never spent so many 
hours discussing various issues with a head of state or head of 
government. And we discussed all sorts of issues very candidly and in-
depth. I learned from the President that the word ``Texas'' also means 
``friend.'' So, my appreciation, my heartfelt appreciation

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goes to the President and Mrs. Bush for their very warm hospitality and 
to the personal friendship that the President has shown.
    President Bush. Absolutely.
    Listen, we'll answer two questions a side, alternating. Please 
address--so don't--one of these things where you ask me and ask the 
Prime Minister or vice versa. Let's just ask one question to one of us 
as we rotate back and forth, if you don't mind.
    Scott [Scott Lindlaw, Associated Press], will you please set the 

Middle East Peace Process

    Q. Thank you, Mr. President. I just have one question, and that's 
that Sharon embraced the roadmap today. How significant is that? Where 
do we go from here? And will you meet with him and Abbas in Egypt or 
    President Bush. Prime Minister Sharon 
accepted the roadmap, and that's progress. He accepted it because I 
assured him that the United States is committed to Israel's security and 
that, since we're committed to Israel's security, as we move forward we 
will address any concerns that might arise regarding Israel's security.
    I'm exploring the opportunities as to whether or not I should meet 
with Prime Minister Abu Mazen, ``Abu Mazen'' 
as well as Prime Minister Sharon. If a meeting 
advances progress toward two states living side-by-side in peace, I will 
strongly consider such a meeting.
    I'm committed to working toward peace in the Middle East. Last week 
I talked to the Prime Minister of Israel as 
well as to the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, ``Abu Mazen'' and I met with the Finance Minister of 
the Palestinian Authority. I understand it's 
going to be difficult to achieve peace, but I believe it can happen.
    Do you want to call on a member of the Japanese press?

Japan's Role in Iraqi Reconstruction

    Q. I'd like to ask questions relating to the Japanese self-defense 
forces in connection with the assistance for Iraq's reconstruction. 
First question for President Bush. Would you expect Japanese 
contributions to the extent that the Japanese self-defense forces would 
go into Iraq on the ground for supporting Iraq's reconstruction?
    And a question for Prime Minister. Would you consider legislating 
new law to enable that?
    President Bush. Let me answer first. I expect Japan to participate 
to the extent that the Prime Minister deems is necessary to fulfill the 
commitment. He tells me he's going to help in the reconstruction of 
Iraq. I believe him.
    Prime Minister Koizumi. Well, this question related to the dispatch 
of Japanese self-defense forces. We are already considering the dispatch 
of self-defense force airlift capabilities in the countries neighboring 
Iraq for humanitarian purposes.
    More specifically, with regard to the question of sending self-
defense forces into Iraq for aiding Iraq's reconstruction, now that the 
U.N. resolution has passed, upon return to Japan we shall study in 
detail what Japan can do for the reconstruction of Iraq. At any rate, 
the question of what Japan can do for helping Iraq reconstruction is a 
matter for Japan to decide.
    I also believe it is important that Japan make contributions for 
Iraq's reconstruction in a prudent manner, in view of Japan's own 
strength. And we shall cooperate with the United States; we shall 
cooperate with the United Nations for the reconstruction of Iraq. So we 
shall consider what Japan can do as an initiative-taking country for the 
reconstruction of Iraq.
    President Bush. Randy [Randall Mikkelsen, Reuters].

North Korea

    Q. Mr. President, you said today that an escalation by North Korea 
of its nuclear activities will require tougher measures. But

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right now they possess nuclear weapons you say you won't tolerate. So at 
what point would you need to increase pressure if they simply do 
    President Bush. Well, the first step was to convince China to 
participate in the process of saying to North Korea that acceptance by 
the international community and potential help will come when they 
change their behavior and their attitude toward nuclear weapons. This 
message has been delivered, and the North Koreans are thinking about it. 
Should they choose to move forward, which we hope they do, then we will 
have the Japanese and South Koreans join the dialog so that there's now 
five of us sitting around the table, all discussing how to see that the 
Korean Peninsula is nuclear-weapons-free.
    And the importance of this meeting today should say to the world 
that Japan and the United States stand shoulder-to-shoulder on the issue 
of North Korea's nuclear weaponry. I believe that we can solve this 
peacefully. I believe that diplomacy can work. And as importantly, Japan 
and the United States will not be blackmailed by North Korean threats, 
and that's important for the North Korean leadership to know.
    Q. I'd like to ask this question of--to both leaders. On this--I 
understand that in your meeting today you reconfirmed that you'll seek 
peaceful resolution of this North Korean nuclear issue. The question is, 
do you think that North Korea, that regime under the leadership of Kim 
Chong-il can really be a counterpart in negotiations for a peaceful 
resolution of the problem?
    Prime Minister Koizumi. On this point let me first say that 
President Bush was stating very clearly that our response to North Korea 
would be different from that to Iraq. Now, the U.S. position, I 
understand, is that all options will remain available, but the United 
States, or President Bush was saying that he was confident that a 
peaceful resolution can be achieved.
    Japan certainly will also seek a peaceful resolution. And I would 
like to engage in various ways to appeal to the North Koreans and make 
them understand that instead of becoming isolated from the international 
community, it is most important for them to become a responsible member 
of the community of nations, and that is most important not just for 
North Korea itself but for the peace and stability of the Korean 
Peninsula and for the entire world.
    President Bush. Thank you very much.

Annika Sorenstam 

    Q. A golf question, sir?
    President Bush. Golf?
    Q. What do you think about Annika Sorenstam?
    President Bush. I'm impressed by Annika Sorenstam. I hope she makes 
the cut. I'm pulling for her, and I hope I'll be watching her on 
Saturday and Sunday.
    Thank you all.

Note: The President's news conference began at 11:30 a.m. at the Bush 
Ranch. In his remarks, he referred to former President Saddam Hussein of 
Iraq; Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel; Prime Minister Mahmoud 
Abbas (Abu Mazen) and Finance Minister Salam Fayyad of the Palestinian 
Authority; and Annika Sorenstam, a leading golfer in the Ladies 
Professional Golf Association, who played in the Professional Golf 
Association's Bank of America Colonial tournament. A reporter referred 
to Chairman Kim Chong-il of North Korea. Prime Minister Koizumi spoke in 
Japanese, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.