• Kyodo

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Visiting U.S. President Barack Obama expressed hope Thursday that Japanese students will work closely with their U.S. peers to continue their tradition of cooperation over scientific and technological breakthroughs.

“Young people like you have at your fingertips more technology and more power than even the greatest innovators in previous generations,” Obama said in a speech before a group of Japanese students at a Tokyo science museum.

“So there’s no limit to what you can achieve, and the United States of America wants to be your partner,” he said after touring the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, known as Miraikan, along the Daiba waterfront district in Koto Ward.

Praising the “incredible cooperation” between Washington and Tokyo in these fields over the years, Obama urged the high school and university students to visit America and meet their “counterparts in the United States who share your excitement about technology and science.”

Obama also noted how Japan and the United States have “led the way in the innovations” that have changed and improved lives, citing early calculators and smartphones.

During his tour at the science museum, Obama was greeted with prerecorded welcome messages by the International Space Station crew, including Koichi Wakata, the station’s commander.

Wakata told the president how the Global Precipitation Measurement satellite, jointly developed by the Japanese and U.S. space agencies, reflects “bilateral efforts to advance science together.”

Obama also had a moment to talk to and play soccer with Honda Motor Co.’s ASIMO robot, calling its kick “pretty impressive,” according to a pool report.

Obama later visited Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, which was built in honor of Emperor Meiji following his death in 1912. The U.S. president also took in a traditional demonstration of “yabusame,” or horseback archery, while visiting the Shinto landmark.

He also took the time to jot down a message on an “ema,” or wooden plaque, wishing for people around the world to unite to achieve justice, peace and prosperity.

Obama is the fourth U.S. president to visit the shrine after Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush, according to the shrine, which is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken.

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