WASHINGTON, DC – At World War II’s close in the Pacific, we Japanese, with feelings of deep remorse, embarked on the path of rebuilding and renewing our country. Our predecessors’ actions brought great suffering to Asia’s peoples, and we must never avert our eyes from that. I uphold the views expressed by Japan’s previous prime ministers in this regard.
Given this recognition and remorse, we Japanese have believed for decades that we must do all that we can to contribute to Asia’s development. We must spare no effort in working for the region’s peace and prosperity.
I am proud of the path that we have taken, but we did not walk that path alone. Seventy years ago, Japan had been reduced to ashes, and each and every month, citizens of the United States sent and brought gifts like milk for our children, warm sweaters, and even goats. Yes, 2,036 American goats came to Japan in the years right after the war. Former enemies had become close friends.
And it was Japan that benefited earliest from the postwar international system that the US fostered by opening up its own market and calling for a liberal world economy. From the 1980s onward, we have seen the rise of the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, the ASEAN countries, and, before long, China – all taking the path of economic development enabled by the open world order created by the US.