American President Visits Japanese Parliament for the First Time

Trouw, 1983

In 1983 President Reagan met with the Japanese Parliament, in an attempt to continue to ease tensions over the threat of nuclear war. He wanted to establish a “partnership for good.” Ultimately Reagan was trying to gain access to the Japanese markets and increase trade between the two nations. The United States walked away from the talks with Japanese promises to help strengthen the dollar and to eliminate trade deficits.

In an audacious move, Reagan stood before the leaders of Japan and vowed that nuclear war must never be fought. Reagan had seemingly forgot that his nation was the one that dropped the bombs on the Japanese. Days before the visit, Reagan had called the Japanese people an “adversary bent on aggression and domination.”

When the Japanese inquired about the new nuclear weapons that were being built in America, the President deflected and said that the weapon creation was tied to ongoing hostilities with the Soviet Union. The United States also tried to instill fear into the Japanese by warning them about the perils of the Soviet SS-20 missiles that could be easily launched at Japan. President Reagan also reminded the Japanese people, using strong and expressive language, of the Soviet attack on a Korean airliner to reinforce his belief that the Soviet people are dangerous and violent.

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