News / Asia

World Leaders Offer Sympathy, Assistance to Quake-Ravaged Japan

Houses lie flattened after a powerful earthquake in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, March 11, 2011
Houses lie flattened after a powerful earthquake in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, March 11, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Meredith Buel

Many world leaders are expressing shock and sympathy following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and are offering to assist the country as it struggles to recover from the disaster.

U.S. President Barack Obama pledged assistance for what he called a potentially catastrophic disaster in Japan.

The president called Japan one of America’s strongest allies and said the U.S. is offering whatever assistance is needed. "We currently have an aircraft carrier in Japan and another is on its way. We also have a ship en route to the Marianas Islands to assist as needed. The Defense Department is working to account for all our military personnel in Japan."

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said a preliminary assessment indicates that American troops, ships and military facilities were not seriously damaged by the quake or tsunami.  

Gates says the military, which has enormous assets in the Pacific, is ready to assist in rescue and recovery efforts. "It's obviously a very sophisticated country, but this is a huge disaster and we will do all, anything we are asked to do to help out."

The U.S. military newspaper Stars and Stripes  is reporting a carrier group led by the USS Ronald Reagan  was diverted to Japan as it sailed toward South Korea for military exercises.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, arriving in Brussels for a European summit, sent his sympathies and condolences to the Japanese people. "We have had a terrible reminder of the destructive power of nature and everyone should be thinking of that country and their people and I have asked immediately that our government should look at what we can do to help”"

Also in Brussels, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said his country stands ready to help the Japanese people. "I think it is the worst earthquake and tsunami that they have seen in Japan for 140 years and a lot of people are now killed, and there will be huge human effects to this. We should do anything in our power to listen in if we can support the Japanese people."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy also offered his country’s assistance, saying France is planning to send planes and other resources to assist in Japan.

Sarkozy told reporters the images of the disaster have stirred great emotions in France and said his government is prepared to send teams of aid workers to help in what he called a catastrophe that apparently is without precedent.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in televised remarks that high tsunami waves have reached his country’s territory and Moscow is ready to help Japan recover. He also said Russia is ready to help its neighbors cope with the aftermath of the earthquake and he has ordered the Russian emergencies minister to submit proposals for assistance.

The United Nations says it is ready to send expert teams to Japan to assist in search and rescue efforts.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised Japan as a nation known for helping other countries in need of emergency assistance. "Japan is one of the most generous and strongest benefactors, coming to the assistance of those in need the world over. In that spirit, the United Nations stands by the people of Japan and we will do anything and everything we can at this very difficult time."

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao also expressed deep sympathy for the Japanese people and officials from China’s Earthquake Administration told the Xinhua news agency that rescuers are prepared to travel to those areas affected by the quake.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs