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Friday, April 22, 2011


Post-disaster cooperation

In meetings in Tokyo on Sunday, Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto and U.S. State Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton agreed that Japan and the United States will fully cooperate with each other as Japan attempts to reconstruct the nation from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and to contain the nuclear crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

It was most appropriate that Mr. Kan told Ms. Clinton that Japan would never forget the support and help the U.S. provided to Japan through its Operation Tomodachi following the deadly natural disasters. Relief and search operations conducted by the U.S. armed forces for disaster victims and missing people in the Tohoku-Pacific region involved some 20,000 personnel, 20 ships (including the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan) and some 160 military aircraft.

The U.S. also sent Japan fresh water to cool the Fukushima plant's reactors, and members of the U.S. Marine Corps Chemical Biological Incident Response Forces assisted at the nuclear plant. It also offered photographs of the plant taken by a Global Hawk unmanned reconnaissance plane.

Japan should not hesitate to get assistance from the U.S. and other nations to quickly bring the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear crisis under control since the crisis has become an international concern. Earlier, the financial chiefs of the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies on April 15 offered to provide "any needed cooperation" to help Japan.

The March 11 catastrophe crippled Japan's manufacturing sector and disrupted transport networks. This could cause shortages of Japanese-made parts and materials in other countries, thus increasing uncertainty in the global economic recovery.

To prevent the G-20 nations' solidarity and cooperation with Japan from being wasted, Japan should immediately start reconstruction work and explain its plan in detail to those nations. Although Japan's financial condition may temporarily deteriorate, it must demonstrate a strong commitment to long-term financial reconstruction.

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