President Obama Visits Japanese Embassy, Signs Condolence Book

Mar 17, 2011 2:30pm

ABC's Sunlen Miller reports: President Obama visited the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C., and signed a condolence book for victims of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. The President walked in the "Old Residence" room at the embassy and Ichuro Fujisaki, the Ambassador of Japan stood back near the doorway to let the president sign the book of condolences by himself. Obama sat at the small table with a pristine white tablecloth and wrote quietly. He appeared to fill up a full page in black ink, spending more than a minute writing with no sound except for camera snaps. This is what Mr. Obama wrote in the condolence book: “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. “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.” “May God Bless the people of Japan.” Asked a question by reporters, President Obama said, ”My main purpose of being here is to communicate how heartbroken the American people are in this tragedy. We are doing everything we can to stand by our great friend and ally, Japan, in this hour of need," he said. "But as I said on the first day of this tragedy I am confident that Japan will rebuild," he added. "It has people who are strong who are resilient, who are dedicated to their country. Who are brilliant. And so as difficult as this period of time is I am confident Japan will emerge even stronger than before.” Amb. Fujisaki said the Japanese people are "grateful to president and the people of United States. We are working 24 hours and his assistance means a lot to all Japanese.” At the embassy, five vases of flowers sit on a table with homemade cards in front of each one. One card, which seemed to be drawn by a child, read, "sorry," and featured a drawing of a flower. Another had in child's handwriting: "We are thinking of you". One flag of Japan stood next to the table with the book of condolences. Flags are at half staff outside the embassy. – Sunlen Miller

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