Madame Secretary renewing old friendships, as with the Empress of Japan whom she met years ago when First Lady of the United States.
Empress Michiko of Japan greeted visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo with a hug and a peck on each cheek, an unusually warm welcome in Japanese culture. Clinton started her first foreign tour as U.S. Secretary in Japan, but her warm reception was due to her past role as First Lady.
To start the day, Clinton participated in a purification rite and welcoming ceremony at a Shinto shrine to the father of modern Japan, Emperor Meiji. She said its message of ‘balance and harmony’ would set the tone for the Obama administration’s foreign policy, especially in tough economic times.
In the several public appearances she made today, Hillary repeatedly stressed the importance of America’s relationship with Japan. She also announced that Taro Aso would be going to Washington next week, making him the first foreign leader to visit and meet with Obama since the new president took office .
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) is welcomed by Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso prior to their talks at Aso’s official residence in Tokyo February 17, 2009. Clinton is visiting Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and China this week on her first foreign trip as U.S. Secretary of State.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton enters a town-hall meeting with students from Tokyo University in Tokyo February 17, 2009.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at a town-hall meeting to students from Tokyo University in Tokyo February 17, 2009
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Japan’s Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone attend at their joint news conference at the Iikura Guest House in Tokyo February 17, 2009.