The framework that we have proposed is designed to build a military-to-military relationship that is sustained and reliable, that is continuous rather than intermittent, and that promotes exchanges at all levels and across all issues, including high-level visits, such as Secretary Gates' trip next week. It seeks to establish professional and functional exchanges including those at the junior officer and mid-career level; and it gives paramount importance to operational safety and confidence-building activities, such as through the MMCA. It also sees as critical the task of conducting substantive and strategic level discussions.
Opening a New Horizon in the Asia Pacific By H.E. Mr. Seiji Maehara, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, January 6, 2011.
Last but not the least, what is most crucial for an alliance is mutual trust. In the four months since assuming office as foreign minister last September, I have built a relationship of trust with Secretary Clinton as ones in charge of diplomacy by, for example, having four foreign ministers' meetings including the one scheduled today. I am convinced that, by further deepening the Japan-US alliance bolstered by mutual trust, we surely will be able to overcome any challenges that will confront the Asia Pacific region.
Japan and the United States built the most important alliance in the world after the devastating World War II. As most people including I were [sic] born after the war, there is a tendency today to take the alliance for granted. However, when I put my hands together in prayer to console the spirits of both Japanese and American soldiers who lost their lives in Iwo Jima, the site of a hard-fought battle of the unfortunate war, and when I reflect on the tragic experiences of the prisoners of war (POW) who endured severe ordeal, I am strongly reminded that the alliance which binds us was not built in a day. Therefore, it is our duty to make this tie further stronger. The next year, 2012, is the centennial anniversary of Tokyo's gift of cherry trees to Washington DC.
I wish to express my hope that this year Japan and the United States would demonstrate their determination to continue to deepen our friendship and to strengthen mutual trust, just as these resplendent cherry blossoms that adorn the Potomac every spring will continue to bloom.