Op with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
White House Colonnade
September 25, 2001
11:45 A.M. EDT
PRESIDENT BUSH: I am really pleased and honored that my personal friend, and
a friend of the United States, has come all the way from Japan to express his
solidarity with the American people and our joint battle against terrorism.
The Prime Minister and I had a wide-ranging discussion about ways that we can
cooperate with each other to fight global terrorism. Most notably, we talked
about the need to work in a way to cut off their funding. The Prime Minister
also talked about ways that Japan will share intelligence, that we'll work cooperatively
on the diplomatic front. We had a great discussion.
Not only am I pleased with the great cooperation that we're having with our
friend, the Japanese; I am most pleased that the Saudi Arabians yesterday cut
off relations with the Taliban, and that President Putin, in a strong statement
to the world, talked about the cooperation that Russia and the United States
will have in combatting global terrorism as well.
The coalition of legitimate governments and freedom-loving people is strong.
People will contribute in different ways to this coalition. But the mission
won't change. The duties of the coalition may alter, but the mission won't alter.
And that is to rout out and destroy international terrorism.
The Prime Minister understands this requires a long-term vision, requires a
patience amongst both our people. And it also requires a determination and a
strong will. I know he's got a determination and strong will, and he knows I
am determined and willful in this struggle.
Mr. Prime Minister.
PRIME MINISTER KOIZUMI: I'm very pleased to say, we are friends. Had a great
talk, friendly. And I convey what I am thinking. We Japanese are ready to stand
by the United States to fight terrorism. We could make sure of this global objective.
We must fight terrorism with a determination and a patience. Very good meeting.
PRESIDENT BUSH: I'll take a few questions.
QUESTION: Mr. President, on the domestic front, sir, why not extend unemployment and
health insurance benefits to airline workers? And what do you think of the proposals
to put reservists and military police on airplanes, and to allow pilots to carry
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, we're looking at all options -- this doesn't require translation,
by the way -- we're looking at all options as to how to enhance airline security.
I had a breakfast this morning with leaders of the Senate and the House. This
was one of the topics we discussed. Secretary of Transportation Mineta is coming
over this afternoon to present me with some of the options. And I look forward
to working with Congress to put some concrete steps in place that will assure
the American public that the government and the airlines are doing as much as
we can to enhance security and safety.
In terms of the labor issues, Elaine Chao is developing a list of recommendations,
a list of options, to make sure that the displaced worker is given due consideration
in the halls of government. That subject came up as well. There is no consensus
yet. There is a desire to work toward taking care of displaced workers. And
both the Congress and the White House will be presenting options.
QUESTION: Mr. President, you mentioned Saudi Arabia. What does this mean in terms of
isolating the Taliban? And would you now encourage Pakistan to do the same?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, we've gotten broad cooperation from Pakistan. We're most
pleased with their response. They are a country that has -- going to be, obviously,
deeply affected by actions we may or may not take in that part of the world.
It's very interesting that the Prime Minister shared with me the fact that his
country has provided $40 million in humanitarian assistance to the Pakistanis,
and I want to thank him for that. We, too, are providing humanitarian assistance
for people in that world, as are the Saudis. And that's an important part of
the coalition, to understand that one of the issues is to make sure that Pakistan
is a stable country, and that whatever consequences may occur as a result of
acts that we may or may not take is one that we do the best we can to manage.
In terms of --
QUESTION: Isolation of the Taliban.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Oh, isolating the Taliban? Well, I think most people in the
world understand that I was very serious, and they're serious, when we say if
you harbor a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorist. That's pretty
isolated, it seems like to me.
QUESTION: Mr. President, according to opinion poll, about 90 percent of the Japanese
are concerned that Japan support of the U.S. military action could trigger terrorist
attacks on Japan, itself. Do you have anything to say to them to, to their concern?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, I think this: I think 100 percent of the Japanese people
ought to understand that we're dealing with evil people who hate freedom and
legitimate governments, and that now is the time for freedom-loving people to
come together to fight terrorist activity. We cannot be -- we cannot fear terrorists.
We can't let terrorism dictate our course of action. And we will not let a terrorist
dictate the course of action in the United States; and I'm sure the Prime Minister
feels the same way about Japan.
No threat, no threat will prevent freedom-loving people from defending freedom.
And make no mistake about it: This is good versus evil. These are evildoers.
They have no justification for their actions. There's no religious justification,
there's no political justification. The only motivation is evil. And the Prime
Minister understands that, and the Japanese people, I think, understand that
QUESTION: Mr. President, amid signs of increasing turmoil in Afghanistan and signs that
there may be splits within the Taliban regime itself, do you believe that the
people of Afghanistan, themselves, are trying to liberate themselves from the
Taliban rule, and would you support that as part of your campaign against terrorism?
PRESIDENT BUSH: We have no issue and no anger toward the citizens of Afghanistan.
We have obviously serious problems with the Taliban government. They're an incredibly
repressive government, a government that has a value system that's hard for
many in America, or in Japan, for that matter, to relate to. Incredibly repressive
They have made the decision to harbor terrorists. The mission is to rout terrorists,
to find them and bring them to justice. Or, as I explained to the Prime Minister
in Western terms, to smoke them out of their caves, to get them running so we
can get them.
The best way to do that, and one way to do that is to ask for the cooperation
of citizens within Afghanistan who may be tired of having the Taliban in place,
or tired of having Osama bin Laden, people from foreign soils, in their own
land, willing to finance this repressive government.
I understand the reality of what's taking place inside Afghanistan, and we're
going to have a -- listen, as I've told the Prime Minister, we're angry, but
we've got a clear vision. We're upset, but we know what we've got to do. And
the mission is to bring these particular terrorists to justice, and at the same
time, send a clear signal, Terry, that says if you harbor a terrorist, if you
aid a terrorist, if you hide terrorists, you're just as guilty as the terrorists.
And this is an administration -- we're not into nation-building, we're focused
on justice. And we're going to get justice. It's going to take a while, probably.
But I'm a patient man. Nothing will diminish my will and my determination --
QUESTION: Mr. President, do you expect any financial support also from Japan, including
PRESIDENT BUSH: Financial proposals?
PRESIDENT BUSH: You mean, related to our --
QUESTION: For the entire mission against terrorism.
PRESIDENT BUSH: For our -- well, first of all, the Prime Minister, as he said,
talked about $40 million of aid to Pakistan. That's a very important contribution.
And I repeat the reason why: a stable Pakistan is very important to a stable
world. After all, Pakistan has nuclear weapons, and we want stability in countries
that may have nuclear weapons. And so that's a very important financial contribution.
Remember, this war will be fought on a variety of fronts. It is not like wars
that we're used to. There's very little that's conventional about it. It's different.
And so, for example, the sharing of information is vital to find and rout out
terrorism. It's vital that we have a cooperative relationship. It's vital that
if we hear anything that may affect the security of Japan, that we're forthcoming
with that information. And vice-versa.
And so the resources -- again, you -- the tendency is to think in terms of a
conventional war, where people might put money in to support a military operation.
That's not the kind of war we're talking about now. And so resources will be
deployed in different ways -- intelligence-gathering, diplomacy, humanitarian
aid, as well as cutting off resources. And one effective tool in getting these
people is to cut off their money. And yesterday I made an announcement here
about how we intend to do so.
PRIME MINISTER KOIZUMI: I believe there are many ways to cooperate. It is one
way to provide financial assistance, but there are diplomatic means, there are
ways to provide medical assistance, there is assistance to refugees, there is
ways to transport supplies. And I believe these are all various ways in which
we can cooperate.