The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

It is an honor for me to celebrate my first Independence Day in Tokyo as the Ambassador of the United States. It is a unique privilege to represent the American people to our great friends, allies, and partners here in Japan. And it is particularly fulfilling to return as the honorary president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) after being a member of this fine organi­zation when I lived and worked in Tokyo a few decades ago.

This has been a year of historic engage­ment for our two countries and for the Indo-Pacific region. In November, US President Donald Trump started the longest trip a president has taken to the region in a generation with his visit to Japan. He met with governmental and business leaders, including many from the ACCJ. It was during that trip that he announced US support for the Free and Open Indo-Pacific.

This strategy hinges on those two key ideas—“free” and “open”—reflecting US and Japanese shared values. The nations of the Indo-Pacific must be free: free from external coercion; free in terms of good governance; free for their citizens to enjoy fundamental rights; and free from corruption. And we must have societies that are open: open to trade, bringing prosperity and better standards of living; open to investment, spurring innovation and progress; and open in their sea and air access, which are truly the lifeblood of the region.

When I arrived in 2017, rockets were being launched over Hokkaido by the North Korean regime. Today, we see an opening to make the world safer and more secure.

Over the past year and a half, President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have developed not only a strong working relation­ship, but also a great personal friend­ship, further strengthening the US–Japan alliance and enhancing the decades-long tradition of shared security and eco­nomic partnership between our nations.

President Trump’s historic tax cuts, regu­latory streamlining, and support for economic freedom are yielding record-setting consumer and business confi­dence and a significantly faster GDP growth rate. There has never been a better time to invest in the United States.

At his summit with Prime Minister Abe in April, the President affirmed his desire for a trade deal with Japan based on the principles of fairness and reciprocity. Our two countries can serve as a model for trade and investment promotion in the 21st century. By taking new steps to expand bilateral trade and investment, we will strengthen economic growth and job creation in both the US and Japanese economies.

The relationship between the United States and Japan is a pillar of stability, peace, and prosperity in this region and the world. As business facilitators and leaders, the members of the ACCJ play a vital role in maintaining and deepening this relationship. For 70 years, the ACCJ has brought generations of Americans and Japanese closer together through countless programs and forms of engagement, including a deep and abiding commitment to social responsibility.

On behalf of the US Mission in Japan and the government and people of the United States, it is my pleasure and privilege to wish all ACCJ members and their families, and all American residents of Japan, a happy, safe, and wonderful Fourth of July.

 

These companies join The ACCJ Journal in wishing readers a
happy Fourth of July.

William F. “Bill” Hagerty IV
is the 30th United States Ambassador to Japan.