US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto announced that their two governments have agreed to establish a public-private partnership for the reconstruction of Japan, in what Mrs. Clinton described as a “message from the people of the United States…of solidarity and shared hope.” She added, “we wish to enhance cooperation between Japan and American businesses, between civil society groups, public officials, under the guidance of the Government of Japan, with its planning.” The April 17 announcement came during Clinton’s recent trip to Tokyo.
The two nation’s top diplomats were joined by leaders from the US and Japanese business community, President of the United States Chamber of Commerce Tom Donohue and Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) Hiromasa Yonekura. After meeting with Japanese colleagues and American-based executives operating in Japan to discuss Japan’s economy, Mr. Donohue expressed the need for the US private sector to remain committed to its Japanese partners:
If anyone needed to be reminded of the pivotal leadership role Japan plays in the worldwide economy and the global supply chain, they have gotten it. It is in the interest of the American business community to see that the Japanese economic engine is running at peak performance as quickly as possible. And we stand ready to work with our Japanese friends to accelerate the recovery and strengthen their economy.
We intend to go back to the United States and tell our Chamber members and the American business community that Japan is working hard to recover, that it will recover,…that Japan is open for business, and that American companies have every reason to stay fully engaged in this important economy.
Mr. Matsumoto said the Japanese government is in the process of developing its disaster recovery and reconstruction plan, which will be the basis for any joint US-Japan action. “This partnership is to have a cooperation from the Japanese and U.S. economic organizations, firms, think tanks, and NGOs,” he explained. “We would like to have a broad cooperation from the private sector with the government’s involvement. That is the aim of this partnership.”
This announcement highlights the continued commitment of the US government, as well as the American people, to stand with Japan; not only in the midst of the crisis, but on their long-term path to recovery.