MORIOKA, IWATE PREF. – New U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy on Tuesday praised the courage and patience of people affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region on the second day of her tour through the disaster-stricken area.
Visiting the lone “miracle pine” that remained after the tsunami and other locations in Rikuzentakata, one of the hardest-hit cities in Iwate Prefecture, Kennedy said she was struck by the resilience of the people affected by the disasters.
“These are the two days I will never forget, and I will make sure to tell people back in America how much Japanese people in the area appreciate their help and how much work there is still to be done and how many opportunities for friendship exist here,” she said.
“I hope that I can contribute in a positive way to continue to build the friendship between the people of this region and North America,” she added.
Rikuzentakata Mayor Futoshi Toba conveyed to Kennedy in their meeting gratitude for the U.S. Forces’ Operation Tomodachi relief efforts in the aftermath of the disaster.
The ambassador also offered flowers at a memorial for the disaster victims set up in the city.