I wish to extend a heartfelt welcome to the Honorable Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, and First Lady, Mrs. Melania Trump, on this occasion of your second visit to Japan.
It is my great pleasure to be able to welcome the Honorable President Trump and Mrs. Trump to this banquet tonight as the first State Guests since I acceded to the Throne.
Japan set foot in the international community, ending its policy of national seclusion 165 years ago. It all began with the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Amity between Japan and your country in 1854. Since then, our two countries and our peoples have overcome various challenges and have fostered mutual understanding and trust. Today, we are connected by the strong ties of friendship as two extremely close neighboring countries spanning the Pacific. I am delighted to know that, especially in recent years, our bilateral relations have increasingly deepened in a wide range of areas, encompassing not only politics and economics but also the arts, culture, sports, state-of-the-art technologies, and more. I feel a great sense of reassurance as I see Japan and the United States sharing a relationship marked by willingness to assist each other in times of difficulty. Before everything else, we in Japan will never forget the exceptionally warm support received from the government and people of your country in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake that took place eight years ago, including Operation Tomodachi in which over 20,000 members of your military personnel participated.
There is also something special in the history of exchange between your country and the Imperial Family. My grandfather, His Majesty Emperor Showa, together with Her Majesty Empress Kojun, stopped over in Alaska in 1971 during their first overseas visit after the Emperor had acceded to the Throne. There, they received a warm welcome from President Nixon and the First Lady. In 1975, President Ford and the First Lady gave them a grand welcome upon their visit to your country. Furthermore, when my parents, Their Majesties the Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita, paid their first official visit to your country in 1960 as Crown Prince and Crown Princess, they were accorded a generous reception from President Eisenhower and the First Lady. They also received kind hospitality of President Clinton and the First Lady as well as many people in your country when they made a state visit as the Emperor and Empress in 1994.
My own memories with your country begin with Expo ’70 in Osaka when I was ten years old. Even now, I vividly recall seeing the moon rock up close and being escorted by Mr. Charles Lindbergh,*1 an American aviator, to the cockpit of the sea plane, the Sirius*2. Later in 1985, on my return from studies in the United Kingdom, I paid my first longer visit to your country and was warmly welcomed by President Reagan. I fondly reminisce about the awe I felt by the immense scale and diversity of your cities and nature, including the skyscrapers in Manhattan, the scenes of the streets of San Francisco and New Orleans, and the majestic of Grand Canyon. The Empress also spent her childhood in New York, and attended high school and college in the Boston area. We both feel a sense of nostalgia and distinct closeness to your country.
His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus, whom the Honorable President Trump and Mrs. Trump met during their last visit, always prayed sincerely for peace and repeatedly paid his respects at memorials dedicated to those who lost their lives during the war, and strove to foster international goodwill, while on the Throne as Emperor, together with Her Majesty the Empress Emerita. I sincerely hope that, while always taking it to heart that the current Japan-U.S. relations are built upon the sacrifices and dedicated efforts made by so many people, the peoples of our two countries will continue to contribute to peace and prosperity in the world to bring about a future filled with hope, all the while further expanding the scope of our cooperation and deepening our unwavering bond.
Japan is now enjoying the beauty of its green season. I would like to express my sincere wishes that this stay in Japan by the Honorable President Trump and Mrs. Trump will be one that is enjoyable and fruitful, and now, I propose a toast to your good health, to the prosperity of the United States, and to the happiness of the people of your country.
*1 Aviator Charles A. Lindbergh, a U.S. national, is known for becoming the first aviator in the world to successfully make a solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean on a single-engine, single-seat propeller monoplane named “Spirit of St. Louis” in 1927.
*2 The sea plane, the Sirius, was used by Lindbergh when he flew from New York, transiting Japan, to China for surveying North Pacific routes in 1931. It was exhibited at Expo ’70 in Osaka.