WASHINGTON - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered an address at a joint session of the US Congress on Wednesday morning to underscore that the two nations' solid bilateral ties are conducive to the peace and stability of the world.
In the 45-minute English speech, Abe recalled the postwar era in which Japan and the United States, after reconciliation, became strong allies sharing basic values, and express his determination to open up a new era with the United States.
Abe stressed the importance of the alliance, saying, "Let us call the US-Japan alliance, an alliance of hope."
Abe announced that Japan will contribute to global peace and stability by closely working with the United States.
Abe became the first Japanese prime minister in history to address a joint session of the US Senate and the US House of Representatives.
Abe noted that Japan and the United States share basic values, including freedom, democracy, basic human rights and the rule of law, and have been contributing to the building of international order based on rules since World War II.
In particular, Abe stressed that the two countries won the Cold War as members of the free world.
Regarding historical perceptions, one of the focuses of attention in his speech, Abe used the term "deep remorse" over World War II, but not "apology."
"Post war, we started out on our path bearing in mind feelings of deep remorse over the war," Abe said. "Our actions brought suffering to the peoples in Asian countries.
We must not avert our eyes from that. I will uphold the views expressed by the previous prime ministers in this regard."
Abe also expressed determination to spearhead various reforms, including agriculture and "rock-solid regulations" in such sectors as medicine and energy.
"In short, Japan is right in the middle of a quantum leap," Abe said. "Please do come and see the new Japan, where we have regained our spirit of reform and our sense of speed."
Abe recalled co-operation between Japan and the United States in tackling international issues, including the fight against terrorism and strengthening the international financial system following the global financial crisis.
In addition, Abe declared a resolve that Japan, in tandem with the United States, will contribute to dealing with issues facing humanity through Abe's policy of "proactive contribution to peace" and the US rebalancing policy that puts greater emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region.