President Obama said he is "absolutely convinced" that Khalid Sheik Mohammad, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, will be subject to "the most exacting demands of justice" when he faces trial.
Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to announce today that Mohammad and four other high-level Guantanamo Bay detainees will be tried in federal court in New York.
"This is a prosecutorial decision as well as a national security decision," Obama said today in Tokyo during a brief press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama at Kantei, the prime minister's official residence.
"The American people insist on it. My administration will insist on it," the president said of the terror prosecution.
Asked about the delay in announcing a new U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and what information he's lacking, Obama said it was not because of "some datum of information I'm waiting on."
"It is a matter of making certain that when I send the young men and women into war and I devote billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money, that it's making us safer," he said.
"Those who are recognize the gravity of the situation and recognize the importance of getting this right. and the decision will be made soon," the president said. "It will be one that is fully transparent so that the American people understand exactly what we're doing and why we're doing it and what it will entail."
White House sources say the president took the advice to heart from former secretary of state and one-time chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell who told the president to take his time since the decision would impact every day of his presidency. It's advice, officials said, that was repeated by others who had made major military decisions.
The president, an administration source told ABC News, was also greatly impacted by cables sent by U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Gen. Karl Eikenberry (Ret.) who cautioned the president to hold off on sending more U.S. troops until the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai more firmly commits to combating corruption and improving its governance.
Obama said he is "very pleased" with how the strategy review is proceeding.
After their meetings in Tokyo today, Obama and Hatoyama focused on the areas their nations can work together and glossed over the areas where they have differences.
The two leaders reaffirmed the alliance between their nations and pledged to work together on the issues of nuclear non-proliferation and climate changes.
The Japanese government announced this week it would provide $5 billion in economic assistance to Afghanistan over the next five years, making the Asian nation one of the largest donors.
"This underscores Japan's prominent role within a broad international coalition that is advancing the cause of stability and opportunity in Afghanistan," Obama said.
But as it announced the Afghanistan aid package, Japan also reaffirmed its pledge to end in January its refueling mission aiding U.S. ships in the Indian Ocean. Hatoyama said that decision was based on an assessment of how many times the ships had been used and what was the best use of Japan's resources.