I was very saddened to hear of the recent series of tragic events that happened in Sendai.
After having done 13 different concert tours of Japan over many decades, I and my fellow musicians wish to express our deepest sympathy and condolences to those who have experienced this terrible disaster.
I was personally near the Kobe area during that particular earthquake a few years ago and I was truly moved by the stoic spirit and enduring fortitude of the Japanese people during that time.
I have always admired your strength and your ability to prevail against such extreme circumstances.
Our fans in Japan have been a part of our lives for many years and our hearts are with you.
You have stood by us and we will stand by you through this difficult time.
With gratitude and admiration,
I am sending this message through the UDO Artists Organization in the hope that it will reach as many people in Japan as possible.
First Posted 03:43:00 03/18/2011
Filed Under: Nuclear accident, Obama Articles, Diplomacy, Foreign affairs & international relations, Earthquake, tsunami, Disasters (general)
WASHINGTON?President Barack Obama paid an unannounced visit to the Japanese embassy in Washington on Thursday to sign a condolence book for victims of the massive earthquake and tsunami disaster.
"My heart goes out to the people of Japan during this enormous tragedy. Please know that America will always stand by one of its greatest allies during their time of need," the president wrote.
Obama, who had announced that he would speak on the dire situation in Japan later Thursday, arrived at the embassy shortly before 2:00 pm (1800 GMT).
Welcomed by the ambassador, Obama inscribed the condolence book placed on a table with a vase of flowers near a Japanese flag.
"Because of the strength and wisdom of its people, we know that Japan will recover and indeed will emerge stronger than ever. And as it recovers, the memory of those who have been lost will remain in our hearts and will serve only to strengthen the friendship between our two countries," he wrote.
"May God bless the people of Japan."
Obama was to make a statement at 3:30 p.m. (1930 GMT) on attempts by Tokyo to stave off a catastrophe at damaged nuclear reactors.
His remarks will come after the State Department late Wednesday authorized the voluntary departure of embassy family members in quake-damaged Japan, and following Thursday's departure of the first US-chartered flight out of Japan, carrying almost 100 people to Taiwan.
US officials had earlier ordered all Americans within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant to evacuate the area, going far beyond the 12-mile (20-kilometer) no-go zone set by Japan.