Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Clinton shows solidarity with Japan

Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto shakes hands with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Tokyo (AP)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has promised solidarity and support for longtime ally Japan as it recovers from a devastating earthquake and tsunami and copes with a nuclear crisis.

"We pledge our steadfast support for you and your future recovery. We are very confident that Japan will demonstrate the resilience that we have seen during this crisis in the months ahead," she told reporters after meeting with Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto.

Japan is determined to do a better job in preventing nuclear accidents such as the one that unfolded at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant after a tsunami triggered by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake on March 11 wrecked its cooling and power systems, Mr Matsumoto said.

"Nuclear safety has to be improved," he said.

Tokyo Electric Power Co, the crisis-plagued operator of the nuclear plant, said it has drawn up a timeline for resolving the accident and presumably ending radiation leaks that have forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.

Mrs Clinton said Mr Matsumoto told her that Japan would welcome US feedback on the plan.

"The constant efforts to respond to the situation at Fukishima have required intense analysis by Japanese, American and international experts, and we have been very supportive of what Japan is doing to take the appropriate steps," she said.

Mrs Clinton and Mr Matsumoto announced the formation of a public-private partnership to encourage investment in the recovery effort, aimed at keeping American businesses interested in Japan.

Mrs Clinton, who called Japan's well-being a "bedrock priority," is also due to meet with Prime Minister Naoto Kan and the emperor and empress before heading back to the US.

"There has been a great outpouring of concern, sympathy and admiration for the great resilience and spirit the Japanese people have shown throughout this very difficult experience," Mrs Clinton said.

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