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1998 Speeches

Phil Condit

The Boeing Company

"The U.S.-Japan Partnership into the Next Millennium: New Opportunities and Challenges"

Tokyo, Japan

October 28, 1998

Konbanwa (Good evening) and welcome distinguished and honored guests. Ambassador Foley. I am delighted and grateful that you have taken time from your busy schedules to be with us tonight. Seeing so many old and fine friends and meeting new friends means a great deal to me and to The Boeing Company. I thank you deeply for coming to spend time together.

Tonight is special for all of us at Boeing. Special because of friendship, special because of our long relationship of cooperation with Japan, and special because of "working together" with our customers, with our partners, with our colleagues. In fact, we have almost a half century of working together. Boeing set up our first office in Tokyo in 1953.

The Boeing-Japan relationship parallels our respective countries' relationships in terms of depth, of strength, and of the fact that our fortunes are inextricably linked. Boeing views its relationship with Japan as much more than a business relationship. Not enough attention has been paid in the United States to the importance of this relationship, with accompanying risks for both our countries. It's one reason I came to Japan...to explore with government officials, industry leaders and others "how" we can work together more. Work together to ensure that policies -- adopted on both sides of the Pacific -- strengthen that relationship.

Shared destiny: addressing the global financial crisis

The U.S.-Japan alliance is unique. It's an important link. There is no doubt in my mind that the peace and prosperity of our two countries, and the world, depend upon a strong and vital economy. Over the years, Japan and the United States have come to rely upon one another for economic, for security, and for political matters. We are interdependent.

I believe that has been unsurpassed by any other alliance. As we move into the new millennium, our relationship will continue to grow in ways that we cannot even imagine. We must continue to foster this alliance for ourselves, for the region, and for the world's benefit.

During Ambassador Mike Mansfield's many years of service in Tokyo, he frequently said, "The U.S.-Japan relationship remains the most important bilateral relationship in the world, bar none." Despite that, little attention is paid to U.S.-Japan relations today beyond such issues as trade, or the global economy, in a world preoccupied with conflict, controversy, environmental, and political challenge. This must change.

I believe we have great opportunity in the global financial crisis to demonstrate the effectiveness of our cooperation. It offers us a chance to underscore our bilateral relationship and our shared destiny. We applaud the Japanese government for moving ahead to develop and to implement programs to revitalize its economy. This is critical.

As you know, Japan's economy accounts for three quarters of Asia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Restoring Japan's economy is fundamental to the economic and political well-being of Japan, of Asia, of the United States, of the whole world. Recently the Bank Rescue Bill passed in the Diet. It is key to reforming the Japanese financial system. The challenge will be implementation. To declare some Japanese banks insolvent and to nationalize others in the next year will be difficult.

In the U.S., we had to do this. First, we learned from our Great Depression. It spawned banking reserves, trading rules, and stabilized our economy. We learned that we needed to change. In fact, we had to dissolve thousands of banks to restore financial health. It led to better financial systems. We learned, again, from our Savings and Loan Crisis in the 1980s.

I believe the United States needs to lead and "work together" with Japan and other countries to solve today's global financial crisis. Recent passage by the U.S. Congress of $18 billion in funding for the IMF (International Monetary Fund) is a good start. Another vital principle is for the United States to keep its markets open and to support global free trade.

Both of our governments are stepping forward and will continue to address these financial challenges. Our shared destiny depends on it.

Business: a Catalyst for Change and Progress

Business plays a key role. In the United States, business is an important stakeholder in shaping international public policy, including our trade policy agenda. The business community can: (1) convey innovative and new ideas; (2) educate stakeholders about international policy; (3) work with government to ensure that public policy best reflects our nation's strategic and economic priorities.

At Boeing, for example, we can educate key audiences across the country about benefits of a strong U.S.-Japan alliance through our suppliers and at our company locations. With facilities in 27 states, we have the opportunity to build better understanding with members of Congress and other public officials about issues that affect Boeing's ability to sell overseas and to create high paying jobs.

All of this depends on a clear understanding and awareness in both of our countries. First, in understanding our shared destiny. Second, in being aware that actions we take "do" determine the peace and prosperity for our people and for people of the world.

So we are committed. Committed to working with our own and other governments to ensure that international policies create a positive environment...one conducive to progress and prosperity. It's a matter of vital interest for Boeing.

We are all part of a global economy today. Transportation and communication systems are converging, and technology is linking us together. At Boeing, we do business in 145 different countries. We have a worldwide supplier base. We sell 70 percent of our commercial airplanes outside the United States. On a daily basis, we see our business crossing international boundaries, and we must deal with a global market economy. We are more and more interdependent.

Japanese people are affected by our commercial success too. Boeing has many alliances with Japanese companies. Our success in the international market supports jobs in communities in Nagoya, Kobe, Utsunomiya, Yokohama, Handa, Hiroshima, and many other places in Japan. In fact, people at about 85 suppliers play a large role in building parts for all our commercial, space and defense products.

Promoting Dialog and New Ideas

Let me close by issuing a challenge to all here in this room, and particularly to our Japanese and American business communities.

Let us take this global financial crisis as an opportunity for dialog, for exchange, for new ideas. Let us take this global financial crisis as an opportunity to progress and take advantage of our strong business relationships. Let us take this global financial crisis to create healthy, vibrant economies, to prosper for the next century.

It is time for significant change. If we can work together and solve our problems as business people and leaders of two great countries then, I think, we can make an impact as the two leading economic nations of the world. Our relationship will be stronger. We will be able to endure future challenges that come our way. We will be able to prosper together. Toward this end, I ask all of you to share with each other. Share your concerns. Share your ideas. Share your hopes.

Let's work together to find ways to highlight cooperation between our two countries. If we emphasize the positive and solve common challenges together, I believe we can restore confidence in the quality and strength of the U.S.-Japan relationship. And then, and only then, will we prosper together once again. I look forward to talking more about this during my stay in Tokyo this week.

Please accept my deepest appreciation for coming tonight. Domo arigatoo gozaimashita.