Biden Promises Continued Help With Japanese Rebuilding Effort

Posted August 23rd, 2011 at 1:05 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Vice President Joe Biden discussed the progress on Japan's reconstruction Tuesday ahead of a visit to view earthquake damage in the northeastern city of Sendai.

At a morning meeting in Tokyo, Prime Minister Naoto Kan thanked Biden for the “enormous assistance” already provided by the United States, including the deployment of a naval task force immediately after the March 11 disasters, and technical assistance in dealing with the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Biden also expressed admiration for the courage and resolve shown by the Japanese following the massive earthquake and tsunami. The country faces years of rebuilding and may take decades to clean up radiation leaks from the Fukushima plant, where three reactors suffered meltdowns.

The U.S. assistance to Japan has helped to improve a relationship that was strained by a long-running dispute over the stationing of U.S. troops on the Japanese island of Okinawa. However, substantive talks between the two leaders were considered unlikely as Mr. Kan plans to hand over power to a new party leader at the start of next week.

For Biden, Japan is the last stop on a 3-country Asian tour that began last week in China. The vice president sought to assure Chinese leaders that the U.S. economy remains strong despite an unprecedented downgrade by a debt-rating agency.

Biden spent Monday in Mongolia, where he praised that nation's transition to multi-party democracy, and he thanked it for its contributions to military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other peace-keeping operations.