U.S. Vice President Joe Biden praised the courage and resolve of the Japanese people as he visited areas devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Speaking at the airport in the hard-hit city of Sendai Tuesday, Biden said he was "humbled" by what he was seeing. He walked through some devastated areas and met with survivors of the disasters.
Earlier in Tokyo, he and Prime Minister Naoto Kan confirmed they will go ahead with a controversial decision to move a U.S. military base on Okinawa to another location on the same island.
Kan thanked the vice president for what he described as the "enormous assistance" 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.
The U.S. assistance to Japan has helped to improve a relationship that was strained by the long-running dispute over the stationing of U.S. troops on Okinawa. However, substantive talks between the two leaders were considered unlikely as 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 three-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.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.