WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) --- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with President Obama, Feb. 22, 2013, to stress economic partnership and security, according to three spokespersons of the Japanese government.
Prime Minister Abe then gave a speech he called 'Japan is Back.' At the Center for Strategic and International Studies, he reinforced the intent to strengthen ties and relevance to the United States.
Japan has suffered recent economic setbacks after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear power plant meltdown in Fukushima.
The previous ruling party had implemented a zero-nuclear policy where all power plants were shut down because of the Fukushima meltdown and the subsequent enforcement of higher nuclear regulatory standards.
The shutdown of major nuclear power plants in Japan has forced the country to rely more on imported energy and fossil fuels. This has created a trade deficit for Japan.
Prime Minister Abe's government is not a zero-nuclear policy, said Tomohiko Taniguchi, Councillor, Cabinet Secretariat of the Prime Minister's Office of Japan.
Abe has adopted a level of 'acceptable' nuclear power within safe and economically viable means, according to Taniguchi. Nuclear power plants will be deemed acceptable after the slow and stringent process of reactivating viable ones.
Meanwhile, Japan should not be shy to boost its export economy, Taniguchi continued.
"[The Prime Minister] intends to bring back Japan as an alliance partner in the Asia-Pacific," said Taniguchi to a group of reporters Friday evening.
"He is fortunate to make the trip at this juncture because you [US] are faced with a financial problem and at the same time pivoting toward the Indo-Pacific. The U.S. needs a stronger partner in the Indo-Pacific," Taniguchi continued to explain Abe's speech.
Security issues such as nuclear missile testing in North Korea and territorial issues with China highlight the importance of Japan's diplomatic ties with the United States and other allies.
This is Abe's second time around as Japanese Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Abe returned after a bout of illness. After six years, no one imagined he would come back, according to Yutaka Yokoi, Press Secretary, Director-General for Press and Public Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
"Many people are happy to help him come back," Yokoi continued.
Less than two months have passed since Abe's inauguration. He also led his party, LDP, into victory within the House of Representatives.
Japan has experienced economic malaise for over a decade.
Under Abe's leadership, the country has adopted "Emergency Economic Measures" to spark economic growth. The fiscal measures are to fight chronic deflation while producing budget measures favorable to sustaining a surplus, according to Hikariko Ono, Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Public Affairs, Director of Global Communications, Prime Minister's Office of Japan.
The stock index has rallied upwards under "Abenomics" so far.
Reported/Written by: Elizabeth Jia
WUSA 9 & wusa9.com