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Armitage after Meeting with Japan's Cabinet Sec.

Remarks to Press after Meeting with Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda

Richard L. Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State

Tokyo, Japan June 10, 2003

Released by U.S. Embassy, Japan

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Good morning. I've just come from a very interesting discussion with Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda. We discussed a full range of issues, starting with the Crawford summit. I expressed the great satisfaction, indeed pleasure, of President Bush being able to host Prime Minister Koizumi. We talked about North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Syria a little bit, and of course Burma. As far I'm concerned, we had a full discussion of the issues. So I'll take a question or two if you'd like.

QUESTION: What do you think about sending SDF to Iraq?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well, that will certainly be a decision that the Japanese Diet will make, representing the Japanese people. I'm very happy to have Japan considering being able to take part in all the great efforts and great events of our day, and I think that's most appropriate for Japan. But it's not an American decision, it's a Japanese decision.

QUESTION: Regarding North Korea, what is your prospect for five nation multilateral talks?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well, I think the prospects are fair for eventual multilateral talks, to include expanding the talks to have South Korea and Japan. I think those countries, which have the most equities involved, should rightfully sit at the table and be able to listen to the North Korean views, and also put our views on the table to the North Koreans. So I think eventually we'll have those talks.

QUESTION: Did you set any timeframe for involving Japan and South Korea?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: No, and we do not talk about a timeframe.

QUESTION: Did you discuss the restructuring of U.S. forces in Japan?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: I did not discuss that with the Chief Cabinet Secretary during my discussions here. I talked about U.S. policy generally, but not about restructuring force presence in Japan at all, and I don't intend to talk about that. That's most appropriate for our friends in the Department of Defense.

I'll take one more.

QUESTION: Can you make an analogy to a baseball game?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: (laughs) Well, some people thought I was being silly when I made an analogy to a baseball game, but I'll try it again. For a long time now, and particularly during the Gulf War in 1991, where Japan was kind enough to pay a huge amount of money, it's a bit as if Japan were paying to watch a baseball game, and sat in the stands. I've long suggested that it's most appropriate for Japan to take her place on the playing field. It's not necessary to be the pitcher or the catcher and be involved in every single play of the game. But you can't play at all unless you're on the baseball diamond. So I'm hoping that the nation will decide to get out of the stands and onto the playing field.

Thank you all very much. Good morning.

[End]

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