VP makes announced stop Tuesday, hails nation’s citizens’ “courage, bravery” in face of disaster.
Vice President Joe Biden arrived at the Japanese Embassy in Washington at 11:14 am for an unannounced visit.
Biden was greeted at the door by Japan’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ichiro Fujisaki and other embassy personnel.
He signed the book of condolences in the Old Residence of the Embassy at a small table in the center of the room next to a single Japanese flag. The book is the same one President Obama signed when he visited last week.
The room is otherwise empty save for a handful of flower bouquets and cards delivered to the embassy from a group of local children. One reads “There is hope,” and others have hand drawn images of flowers.
Biden sat writing his message at the table for three minutes before getting to inspect the cards. He picked up one that read “We are thinking of you.”
“Mr. Vice President, this is from a nearby school,” Fujisaki told Biden as he inspected the flowers and cards.
Biden turned to the Ambassador, shook his hand and said. “We’re going to stand with you.”
The two had a brief conversation in the room, the Ambassador was overheard thanking Biden for U.S. assistance with rescue teams after the earthquake, Tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis.
“It means a lot to us, we really appreciate it,” Fujisaki said.
The two walked out of the room, but returned about 30 seconds later. Biden said that they were having a private conversation and the Ambassador asked him to come back and make a statement to the media.
“It is almost beyond the ability of the human mind to understand the devastation of this natural disaster,” Biden said.
“What is equally hard to understand…is the resolve of the Japanese people,” he continued. “The stoicism in the face just an unimaginable tragedy.”
The Ambassador spoke briefly saying that he believed Biden’s message would be “a very strong message to the Japanese people.”
“I’ve traveled around the world and I promise you the whole world is looking at the courage, bravery and the resolve being demonstrated by ordinary people,” Biden continued.
He quoted a Irish proverb that said “Too much suffering makes a stone of the heart.”
Biden said the world has been amazed by the “resolve the Japanese people, the orderly way in which they are dealing with” the crisis.
He reiterated that “America will stand with Japan and do whatever we can to be of assistance.”
“I have no doubt the Japanese will bounce back from this,” Biden said before leaving the room again at 11:22 am
Dr. Jill Biden was unable to join VPOTUS at the Embassy today because she is teaching today at Northern Virginia Community College where she is a member of the faculty full-time.