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Biden visits Japan

Biden visits Japan

(AP photo)

American Vice President Joe Biden, near the end of his Asian tour, met with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan for an hour Tuesday. Biden is the highest ranking U.S. official to visit Japan since the March 11 quake and tsunami.

“I am honored and truly humbled to have an opportunity to visit this place, to see so much devastation and tragedy,” Biden said from Sendai Airport.

After visiting the tsunami-stricken city of Sendai, Biden praised the Japanese for their resilience in what he called “this God-awful tragedy had demonstrated for the world to see so much heroism, courage and resolve and selflessness.”

“I came to express not only my commitment to say, ‘We will do whatever we can to help,’ but to tell you how much the President, how much I, how much the American people admire your character… Japan will rebound, and be stronger–literally stronger–than before the devastation.”

U.S.-Japan relations, which had been somewhat strained over the Futenma Air Base issue in Okinawa, were strengthened thanks to the U.S.’s response to the disaster. The U.S. mobilized 20,000 troops and 160 aircraft in what it dubbed “Operation Tomodachi” (Friend) for disaster relief and recovery operations.

Kan, who plans to step down as prime minister next week, thanked Biden for the U.S.’ “enormous assistance” and said he would like to “reiterate our gratitude” on behalf of the Japanese people.

Biden replied: “You do not need to express gratitude to us. You’d do the same for us. Our only regret is that we could not do even more.”

The U.S.-Japanese relationship is one of the most important in the world, and Biden reiterated the importance of the two countries’ security alliance in saying: “We are a Pacific power. You are a Pacific power. We are allies, both economically and politically. It’s something that we value a great deal.”



Dustin Dye

Dustin Dye is the author of the YAKUZA DYNASTY series, available through the Amazon Kindle.

He lived in Okayama, Japan, where he taught English at a junior high school through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program for three years. He is a graduate from the University of Kansas, where he received a bachelor's degree in anthropology.

His interest in Japan began in elementary school after seeing Godzilla fight Ghidorah, the three-headed monster. But it wasn't until he discovered Akira Kurosawa's films through their spaghetti Western remakes that he truly became fascinated in the people and culture of Japan.

He lives in Kansas with his wife, daughter and guinea pig.

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E-mail him: [email protected]