Bush commemorates 150 years of U.S.-Japan ties

I'm proud to join you in commemorating the 150th year of the important relationship between the United States and Japan. Today, America has no closer ally than Japan. The American people are proud to claim the friendship of the fine citizens of Japan. Our two nations are bound by common interest, common values and common goals. Our alliance brings peace, stability, and hope for a better future to our own citizens and to people across the Pacific and around the world. Every year, our two economies produce more than 40% of the world's wealth. Together we lead the world in the scientific and technological advancement that defines our age.

In 1854, representatives from our two countries negotiated the Treaty of Peace and Amity. Six years later, Japan sent its first official mission to San Francisco with 80 dignitaries eager to learn about America and to expand the contact between our two people.

Today, millions of Japanese travel to the United States each year. Japanese culture, from food to film, enriches Americans' lives, and Ichiro is winning the hearts of young American baseball fans from coast to coast. The friendship between our people benefits the world. Japanese and American scientists collaborate to fight HIV/AIDS, and to develop new technologies to clean the world's environment. Our governments work together to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to bring peace to strife-torn lands, and to defeat the terrorists that threaten our common values. Our men and women in uniform serve alongside each other to maintain peace and stability in Asia. And at this hour, Japanese and American forces are helping the Iraqi people build a better future. The bonds between our peoples are stronger than ever, and I value the strong leadership of my friend, Prime Minister Koizumi. America looks forward to our continued partnership with Japan as we work together for peace and prosperity around the world.