I thank you most warmly for your welcome and generous words about my country.
The Duke of Edinburgh and I are particularly glad to be in Japan. We remember with pleasure the visit that Your Majesty and the Empress made to London in 1971, and our visit now sets a symbolic seal on the long continuity of association between our two countries.
The first British seafarers and traders who came to Japan in the time of Queen Elizabeth I, found much to wonder at and admire in your civilization. Later on ―in 1727― an English translator of "The History of Japan" wrote in his preface that his book described a valiant nation… "a polite, industrious and virtuous people, enriched by a mutual commerce among themselves and possessed of a country on which nature hath lavished her most valuable treasures."
These qualities have been drawing my countrymen to Japan since the beginning of the Meiji period. First came businessmen who watched, and sometimes helped, the remarkable process of Japan's peaceful transformation into a modern industrialised society. Next came teachers and doctors, engineers and naval instructors, diplomats and scholars, potters and poets. All left here a piece of their hearts. Many members of my own family have visited your country and enjoyed the hospitality of your people.
Now it is my turn to come to Japan―and when better than in the spring! I look forward immensely to learning, not only about Japan's rich cultural heritage, but also her modern technology, and how you succeed in keeping both old and new in reasonable harmony. You have evolved a structure of society which, with your zest for work, seems particularly suited to the industrialised world in which we live.
There is, of course, much we can learn from each other about that world. Fortunately the scientific, cultural, and academic contacts between us have greatly increased―even since Your Majesty came to London four years ago. I hope this will continue.
We must also continue to develop our bilateral trade. This has been, and will be, the bedrock of our relations. Britain has a strong and broadly based industry. It has kept vigorously in the forefront of scientific research and development, so we have much to offer. As great trading nations, Britain and Japan have everything to gain from closer commercial and financial links. And as worldwide traders we also have a strong common interest that peace and stability should be established throughout the world. This is why our Governments see eye to eye on almost all the great international issues of the day. My Government deeply values the close contacts that have developed, bilaterally and in the international arena, in recent years.
The world today is tense and complex. Peace itself does not solve the problems of poverty and the deprived; of the "generation gap"; of the violence bred of frustrated hopes. These, and similar problems, are formidable, and the developed nations must stand together to confront and solve them. If the efforts of our two countries are combined, our contribution will be all the greater.
As people, we share many attributes―our technical skills, our curiosity about new knowledge, our respect for tradition, even our love for gardens and our predilection for driving on the left! But perhaps we share in particular a temperament which may be hesitant to show affection but which has a capacity for deep feeling. I hope and believe that the friendship which today binds the Japanese and British people together will endure and be strengthened.
I ask you now to rise and to drink the health of His Majesty, of the Empress, of other members of the Imperial Family, and of the country and people of Japan.