April 24 - U.S. President Barack Obama tells Japan Washington is committed to its defence including islands disputed with China. Paul Chapman reports.
U.S. President Barack Obama's day-long tour of Tokyo started with a welcome from Japan's Emperor and Empress in the grounds of the imperial palace. Then came the fun stuff...a game of soccer with humanoid robot Asimo at the Tokyo Innovation Museum. But Obama's four-day visit to Asia has a very serious side to it. He's looking to convince Washington's Asian allies the U.S. is committed to its promised strategic 'pivot' towards the region. On Thursday he told Japan the U.S was serious about its security and that includes islands in dispute with China. (SOUNDBITE)(English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "Let me reiterate that our treaty commitment to Japan's security is absolute and Article Five covers all territories under Japan's administration including the Senkaku islands." China's Foreign Ministry insisted the chain which it calls the Diaoyu islands were its territory regardless of what anyone said. (SOUNDBITE)(Mandarin) CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN QIN GANG SAYING: "The so-called U.S.-Japan security treaty is a product of the Cold War era and it can't be aimed at a third party and ought not to harm China's territorial sovereignty. No matter what anyone says or does, it can't change the basic reality that the Diaoyu islands are China's inherent territory and can't shake the resolve and determination of the Chinese government and people to protect our sovereignty and maritime rights." Later in the day Obama visited the Meiji shrine where he made a wish to the Japanese gods. It was a simple enough wish written on a wooden board which normally hangs at the shrine on public show. This time, though the head priest offered to take care of it amid fears his pleas for justice, peace and shared prosperity might be stolen.