July 4th Message by Ambassador Thomas S. Foley

As the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, it is with great pleasure that I extend Independence Day greetings to the thousands of Americans resident in Japan and to our many friends in this country.

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With the signing of that document by delegates from the thirteen former colonies, our ancestors enshrined forever the ideals which define our nation. That document speaks to us as clearly today as it did then: We hold these truths to be self-evident - that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among them, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed.

We Americans should be proud of those words, which have been the inspiration for people from all over the world who seek freedom and struggle for justice. Yet, noble and inspiring as the words of our founding documents are, honest reflection tells us that we have - as a people - not always achieved our ambitious ideals. Perhaps countries which easily achieve their national goals set them too low or not high enough. Our forefathers set ours very high indeed. So while we can appreciate the successes of our economy and society, we must always recognize our problems and limitations as well. We should also remember that it is the special task of every generation of Americans to attempt to take these goals of truth and justice from the realm of inspiration, and make them a reality. So many of our national goals and values we share with our great friend and ally - Japan. The United States and Japan share a mutual faith in democracy. We share the common goals of economic growth and global stability. For more than fifty years, we have been partners in an ever-expanding realm of cooperative activities that reflect our common interests. Together, we are confident that we can work toward a better world for our generation and those to come.

As we join with family and friends to celebrate this 222nd anniversary of America's independence, let us remember to be faithful to the ideals that gave our country birth and re-dedicate ourselves to strengthening the bonds of friendship and cooperation between our two nations.