Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made history on April 29 when he became the first Japanese head of state to address a joint meeting of Congress.
“Let the two of us, America and Japan, join our hands together and do our best to make the world a better, a much better place to live,” Abe told a packed Congress. “… Together we can make a difference.”
During the speech, Abe focused on the American-Japanese friendship, efforts to improve trade ties and shared security issues.
“We must make the vast seas stretching from the Pacific to the Indian Oceans seas of peace and freedom, where all follow the rule of law,” Abe said. “For that very reason we must fortify the U.S.-Japan alliance.”
“Spring, green and friendship
United States and Japan
Nagoyaka ni! — Which means harmonious feeling.”
Abe and his wife, Akie Abe, traveled to Boston, where they honored victims of the Boston Marathon bombings and met with Secretary of State John Kerry.
First ladies Michelle Obama and Akie Abe visited an elementary school outside Washington in nearby Great Falls, Virginia. They caught a glimpse of Japanese culture in America as they met with a Japanese language immersion class and watched students perform Japanese music.
“Japan is one of America’s best friends in the world,” Michelle Obama told students. “And when you learn about Japanese culture and languages, and you get to know kids from Japan, you’re helping to strengthen that friendship.”
At a joint press conference on April 28, Obama used a Japanese phrase to describe what brings together the two leaders.
“It’s what allows us to say that the United States and Japan stand together. Otagai no tame ni — with and for each other,” Obama said.
Follow the conversation about Abe’s trip on Twitter at #AbeInTheUSA.