Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto at the Department of State in Washington on April 29, 2011. After their meeting, Secretary Clinton said:
"...This is a particular privilege for me to welcome the minister to the State Department for his first visit as the foreign minister of Japan. Just two weeks ago, we met in Tokyo to discuss Japan's ongoing efforts to rebuild after the earthquake and tsunami. The people of Japan have faced these disasters and the subsequent nuclear emergency with courage and conviction, inspiring the world with their strength. Today, I conveyed again the commitment of the American people to support our friends in Japan however we can, and particularly to work through the public-private partnership for reconstruction, bringing together the Japanese and American business communities in support of the Japanese Government's plan for recovery.
"In addition to these very important issues, we discussed a number of other regional and global matters of great concern to both of us. We discussed North Korea and reconfirmed out shared goal of a complete and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. I shared with the minister the upcoming plans for the third U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue with China meeting here in Washington in just over a week.
"We also discussed developments in the Middle East, and I am grateful to Japan for its support in dealing with the increasingly alarming situation in Syria, as well as its solidarity with us and the European Union with regard to Iran and the dangers of nuclear proliferation. Japan has also made critical contributions to reconstruction and reconciliation in Afghanistan, and the government just announced it will continue its financial assistance to Afghanistan at the same levels as before the earthquake. That is a remarkable example of both leadership and generosity that we appreciate.
"There are so many important matters for us to discuss that the minister and I are committed to carrying on our close consultation. We are working very hard to set a new date for the Security Consultative Committee, known as the '2+2.'
"So, Minister, please let me again express my appreciation to you and to your government for the work we are doing together and the very important work that lies ahead as well."
Via an interpreter, Foreign Minister Matsumoto said:
"...It was my fervent hope to make the United States the first destination for my very first bilateral visit overseas, and I'm happy that it has become true.
"We've been receiving very generous support and very generous and warm support from the United States following the earthquake. And one of the major objectives of my visit this time was to express directly to the U.S. Government and people that gratitude. But I regret to say that even before expressing gratitude, I may need to also express our sympathies to the United States for the very heavy damage and the very serious casualties, as well as heavy damage, caused by the most recent tornados in the United States. And as I watched the images on the television screen of the damage, it inevitably made me remember the earthquake damage of a month and a half ago. We, of course, are right in the middle of dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake, but I told Secretary Clinton, please tell us if there is anything we can do in also response to the tornadoes.
"But again, let me say that we are truly grateful for the support that we received from the United States following the earthquake. And we'll never forget the very strong support that we have received from the United States, from the -- the very large number of service -- U.S. service members who were engaged in Operation Tomodachi. The rescue teams who arrived on the ground very early on right after the earthquake and the many nuclear experts who are now on the ground helping us. And we've also -- let me say that we've been touched by the expression of sympathy and support by a large number of people in the United States, notably small children who have also sent their messages to Japan.
"I regret to say that two Americans who were engaged in what is called JET Program, a program for Americans and other English-speaking people to teach English to small children, schoolchildren, and two of these Americans lost their lives because of the earthquake. They had been serving as a bridge between Japan and the United States. We'll never forget the deep thoughts that they had for Japan and the fact that they were helping raise good children in Japan.
"As Secretary Clinton mentioned just now, in our meeting today we did cover a broad range of issues. We were hit by the earthquake, but we wish to emerge stronger by overcoming the earthquake and continue to fulfill our responsibilities in the international community."
You can read the full transcript of Secretary Clinton's remarks with Japanese Foreign Minister Matsumoto here.