Transcript of Ambassador Thomas S. Foley's Remarks

Upon Departure from His Courtesy Call on Governor Shintaro Ishihara
at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Complex

May 26, 1999

Ambassador Foley: I appreciate very much his [Governor Ishihara] taking the time to allow me to pay this courtesy call on him. I have a practice of calling on governors of Tokyo. I called on Governor Aoshima last year. I call on governors of [different] prefectures when I visit those prefectures. It gives me great pleasure to do that.

Secondly, I thanked the Governor for the splendid services that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government provides to all the citizens of Tokyo. In addition there are over 30,000 Americans who are temporary residents of Tokyo who have the wonderful opportunity to live in one of the great cities of the world and to enjoy the splendid services provided by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. I also congratulated?c

I also congratulated him personally. As one who is a former elected official himself, I know what a great honor it is to have the respect and confidence of your fellow citizens, to elect you to a very high office - as the citizens of Tokyo have elected this governor to a very, very high office, indeed.

Other than that, we discussed very briefly a number of subjects. The Governor mentioned again his concern and interest in Yokota Air Base, and said he would be from time to time commenting on that issue, as he had during the campaign.

I told him that we were convinced that Yokota is an essential part of U.S. Forces operations in Japan. That it is the major hub of our transportation and supply services in East Asia, and that it has special characteristics - including the ability to expand quickly (surge capacity)* - in terms of any contingencies that might occur in the region.

I thanked the Governor for being willing to take the time to visit Yokota, which he will do in the near future. I told him that General Hall, the commander of the Fifth Air Force and commander of all (American) forces in Japan, will welcome his visit and answer any questions that he might have.

However as in my country, as in the United States, defense and foreign policy are part of the responsibility of the central government - not local governments, however important. Consequently, any matters related to Yokota can only be discussed with the central Government of Japan.

Question: What was your impression of the Governor?

Ambassador Foley: A very distinguished man. He had a very distinguished career in the Diet, and I told him that as a former Speaker (of the House of Representatives), I particularly appreciated his long service in the Diet. I am a great believer in the principle of parliamentary democracy, and I always have great respect for someone who has been in public life with the confidence of his constituents for so long. And I told him it must be a special satisfaction for him that his son continues in that tradition.

Thank you.

* "surge capacity" refers to a military base's ability to accommodate increased personnel and equipment inflows and outflows during a contingency.

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