While touring the disaster devestated Tohoku region, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan thanks Army Col. Lance Koenig, commander of a US military task force that was clearing the grounds of Ishinomaki High School. Photo by: Nathan A. Bailey, "Stars and Str

Japanese Prime Minister Thanks US for Support


In an opinion piece published last Friday in the Washington Post, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan described the steps his administration is taking to address the aftermath of the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and the continuing nuclear power plant crisis. In his piece, Kan acknowledged the support of the United States in responding to the earthquake and tsunami disasters.

He also noted that the US has assisted in the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, having sent equipment and radiation and nuclear experts to Japan. Japan Matters for America posted earlier on the broad range of US government efforts to assist Japan. In addition, US local communities have reached out through sister-city connections to raise awareness and organize fundraisers.

Of the US support he wrote:

Immediately after the earthquake, the United States, our most important friend and ally, provided swift cooperation. President Obama kindly called me to convey his strong commitment that the United States stood ready to provide all-out support to the Japanese people during this time of great difficulty. He reaffirmed that the relationship between our nations is unshakable. So many Japanese citizens, including myself, were enormously encouraged by these remarks. From an early stage in the response efforts, U.S. forces have diligently performed relief activities on multiple fronts as part of Operation Tomodachi (Japanese for “friendship”). The attitude that Americans have demonstrated during this operation has deeply touched the hearts and minds of the Japanese.

Despite the terrible tragedy in Japan, there is a silver lining to this incident: the governments in Washington, DC, and Tokyo have managed to work together to strengthen their relationship. We hope this close relationship continues.