Fuji TV Interview: U.S. Values Relationship With Japan

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Interview With Yuko Ando of Fuji TV
Tokyo, Japan
February 17, 2009

QUESTION: I understand you just met the abduction victim’s family members, right?


QUESTION: And what are your impressions and the thoughts on ways to move on? Did the meeting refresh your conviction to solve this problem?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I was honored to meet with the family members and to hear their story, to see pictures of a missing sister and a missing daughter.


SECRETARY CLINTON: And to reaffirm the United States commitment to making the abductee issue part of the Six-Party Talks. It’s very important that North Korea answer questions and let people come home after all of these years. And I hope that we’re able to create the conditions for that decision to take place.

QUESTION: And you are, as a mother, beloved your daughter.


QUESTION: Can you believe that just one day, one morning, your daughter just disappears?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I can’t. That’s what was so hard, because as I said a few days ago, I’m a mother and a daughter and a sister. And so I could relate to what it must have felt like for the brother to tell me his sister disappeared with two young children that he helped to raise. And for the parents of the 13-year-old who disappeared, who now believe that they have a grandchild that they have never even had a chance to meet. So the human level of this has to be remembered. Because, yes, we are determined to try to denuclearize North Korea - that is important for Japan, for South Korea, for all of us. But the human rights issues, including the abductee issues, are also very important.

QUESTION: I see. And we are very honored that you chose Japan as your first official visit. And why Japan over the countries like China, maybe European allies? Why Japan?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Japan is one of our most important allies in the world. And next year, we will celebrate the 50th year of our alliance. And Japan is the second largest economy in the world.


SECRETARY CLINTON: I think the role that Japan is now playing, not just regionally here in Asia, but in Afghanistan, in the anti-piracy efforts, even in supporting the Palestinians, providing aid in Africa, it is so important because it has an impact far beyond the borders of Japan. And for my first trip as Secretary of State, I wanted to come to Asia to underscore how indispensible the future of Asia is to the future of the United States. And I wanted to start in Japan because of the strength and enduring nature of our partnership.

QUESTION: And also you went to Meiji Shrine this morning, right?


QUESTION: Did you feel something really Japanese there?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I did. It is such a beautiful setting - to drive through the forest there and then to come upon the shrine. I felt like it was a peaceful place of spirituality and history. The priest there was telling me about its religious and historical significance. I saw a beautiful traditional dance performed. And I just felt very fortunate that I could start my day there.

QUESTION: I see. And you have start out with the Meiji Shrine and the tea ceremony and so forth, right? And you’re going to meet Prime Minister Aso - and also the opposition party leader Ozawa, right?


QUESTION: But what kind of message intended to deliver by meeting both leaders, not only Prime Minister Aso, but both Prime Minister Aso and Ozawa?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we value greatly our relationship with the Japanese people and the government. And that is why President Obama has invited Prime Minister Aso to be his very first foreign visitor. But we also want to make sure we’re listening to all segments of Japanese society. I will also be at Tokyo University listening to students. I just had a wonderful visit with the Empress and also saw the Emperor. It’s important for me to try to be sure I just don’t have the official meetings, because they’re very important and we cover a broad range of issues, but I like to get a little more informal with the leaders I meet with and with other representatives of the Japanese society.

QUESTION: So you’re the only First Lady to become a member of the U.S. cabinet.


QUESTION: And also, we all understand you have worked very eagerly on the women’s issue throughout your career. Do you have any advice or personal lesson that you can give to other female viewers and especially like the young ladies who wants to go on with career?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, you’re an example.

QUESTION: No – (laughter)– definitely not.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And there are so many talented women in this country. I also had a chance to visit with Ambassador Ogata who has done an incredible job in international affairs for many years. But what’s wonderful today is that young women have access to so many more opportunities to study, to choose a course that is best suited for them. And I don’t think there’s any one piece of advice, because we are all different, which makes like more interesting, other than to encourage each young woman to, you know, be true to herself.


SECRETARY CLINTON: That to me is the most important way to live a life, to know that you be the best person you can be. And it may be a different course than your sister or your friend, or even what your parents expected. But it is the opportunity to live your own life to the fullest, and that’s what I try to remember and encourage the young women whom I know to do.

QUESTION: Isn’t it sometimes so hard to be honest to yourself, right?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Very hard, very hard. Because there are so many different messages coming at us from society - and each of our societies are different. But we still have a long way to go before women achieve equality. And I think in your country and mine, we have made a lot of advances, but we still have to struggle with the different competing pressures in a woman’s life – the expectations as a daughter, the obligations as a mother, the responsibilities as --

QUESTION: As a good wife.

SECRETARY CLINTON: -- a worker and a wife. I mean, it’s something that is a balancing act. There isn’t any doubt about it, no matter where you live in the world. So I hope that we can encourage more young women to support each other.


SECRETARY CLINTON: To understand that advances for women anywhere help women everywhere, and to continue to open those doors and try to knock down that glass ceiling.

QUESTION: Run out of time? Okay. (Laughter.)


QUESTION: Thank you so much.

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PRN: 2009/T1-8