January 6, 1989

Mrs. Reagan and I have just been informed that His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Hirohito, died earlier today. On behalf of the people and Government of the United States, we extend our deepest condolences to His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor; to the Imperial family; and to the people of Japan.

His Majesty's 62-year reign spanned one of the most tumultuous and yet, at the same time, constructive eras in the history of mankind: an age of unprecedented economic collapse, a most vicious war, astonishing scientific achievement, and dramatic political and social changes throughout the world. It was also an era of unprecedented reconciliation. His Majesty played a truly heroic role in bringing hostilities between our two peoples to an end and leading the Japanese people through a period of reconstruction and reconciliation that has resulted in both the prosperity the Japanese know today and the close relations our two nations and peoples now enjoy.

The late Emperor visited the United States in 1975. Nancy and I enjoyed our several meetings with him, most recently in Tokyo in 1986. We had the pleasure of entertaining their Imperial Majesties, the former Crown Prince and Princess, at the White House in 1987.

While we mourn the passing of His Majesty, we shall long remember him for his contributions which strengthened the United States-Japan relationship and set a future course of continued close and friendly relations.