Washington, D.C. (March 17, 2011) – President Barack Obama visited the Japan Embassy Thursday in an unannounced trip to sign a condolence book. He was received by Ambassador of Japan to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki.
According to the White House News Service, the President sat at a table covered in white cloth with the book before him for just under 5 minutes. In front of him, on another table, were flowers and handwritten cards. “We are thinking of you,” one read. “Sorry,” read another.
“My heart goes out to the people of Japan during this enormous tragedy,” Obama wrote in the book. “Please know that America will always stand by one of its greatest allies during this 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 relationship between our two countries. May God bless the people of Japan.”
The President signed his name and wrote “March 2011” after his signature.
He then addressed the reporters and Embassy staff present saying the purpose was to communicate how “heartbroken,” America is over the tragedy.
“We are doing everything we can to stand by our great friend and ally, Japan, in this hour of need,” he said, and then offered more sympathy for the lives lost and those who are now displaced.
The President then said he was “confident” that Japan would rebuild, and offered praise for its strong and dedicated people.
“We are so grateful to the president and the people of the United States,” added Ambassador Fujisaki.