Thursday, October 13, 2011

Secretary of State Clinton: Friendship Cornerstone To U.S.-Japan Relationship

Secretary Clinton at the U.S.-Japan Council conference. AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta via.

Last Friday Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made remarks at the U.S.-Japan Council's annual conference. The crux of her speech was common experiences that have built a strong, lasting friendship between the U.S. and Japan, a relationship that "has been tested by time and tragedy, by rivalry, and by the natural push and pull between two proud nations... And each time, it comes back even stronger." She continues:
Ten years ago, as a senator from New York, I saw firsthand what our friendship meant. When Japan sent firefighters from 7,000 miles away to help with the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, I was moved, but I wasn’t surprised. That’s just the kind of friend that Japan is to America and to many countries around the world. Wherever there is famine, disease, poverty, wherever there is a young democracy struggling to take root, from the frontlines to the forgotten corners, Japan is there, working hand in hand with America to build a safer, more prosperous world.

The generosity that moved us after 9/11 we sought to repay after 3/11. After Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, our governments launched the largest joint military operation in our history. More than 20,000 Americans from our military and other agencies took part in what we called Operation Tomodachi. Now, this was more than just a search and recovery mission; this was a demonstration of our deep ties, because as you know so well, tomodachi means friend, and that’s what we want it to be.

Americans who remembered the red and white flags on the jackets of Japanese volunteers at ground zero flew to Japan to return the favor. Across our country, in small towns and large cities, people raised money. Springfield, Illinois, for example, raised $32,000 selling blue jeans for their sister city in Japan. Nebraska corn growers donated nearly 9,000 bushels of grain. Japan-America societies across this country raised over $20 million for relief efforts in Japan. And the ambassador is passing out these white wristbands, which I’m very proud to wear. And as you might guess, he’s very persistent. So again, just say yes when he approaches you. (Laughter.)
Via the National Association of Japan Societies.

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