The First U.S.-Japan International Sports Exchange

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Japan's Ambassador to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki; Major League Baseball's Cal Ripken, Jr.
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
August 9, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: We are so delighted to welcome the ambassador and also Cal Ripken, Jr., here today as we celebrate the wonderful program, the Japanese sports visitor program, that’s been going on for a long time. But it’s particularly meaningful to us now as we reach out to the Japanese people and show our support for them. And as I was saying to the young people and to the ambassador and to Cal, we love Japan for many reasons, but one of them is because they love baseball. So this is an extra special treat for us.

And we’re very proud that Cal Ripken, Jr., who’s such an icon of the sport all over the world, is one of our public diplomacy envoys. Do you want to say anything, Cal?

MR. RIPKEN: Just an old player who loves baseball and loves to spread the good word about baseball. You can relate in sport in a people-to-people way in many different cultures across the world. I had a chance to do it China. I had a chance to do it in Nicaragua. Really looking forward to going to Japan. Been there three times, love it, and just can’t wait to go.

QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton, can I ask you one thing? What’s your message to those kids who are with you, who have gone through so much since the disaster (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I was talking with them before we came in and expressing, once again, the very strong support and solidarity that the American people feel for the Japanese people as they rebuild from the disasters that have so devastated part of the country. The Japanese people have shown great resilience, and they are pulling together to support each other during this time. And sports is a way to bring people together.

And of course, the United States saw firsthand the resilience of the Japanese sports teams when the women’s soccer team beat the Americans in the Women’s World Cup. And I think the young women playing for the Japanese team were so motivated to show what was possible, that even though I was cheering for my American team, I was very impressed by the spirit that was demonstrated.

AMBASSADOR FUJISAKI: We were – excuse me – so moved by you and all the American people for the graciousness after our miraculous victory, and we in Japan are also very much grateful for you doing this for these students from the affected areas.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much. Let’s give a round of applause to the young people. (Applause.)

PRN: 2011/1297