Statement by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta on the One Year Anniversary of Great East Japan Earthquake

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–March 9, 2012.  

“As the world marks one year since the Great East Japan Earthquake, I would like to express my admiration for the strength and resilience of the Japanese people.  Last fall, I had the opportunity to visit Japan and see the determination of the Japanese people who are rebuilding their country even stronger than before.

“The U.S. military was proud to support the Government of Japan in responding to this disaster, and the success of these efforts is a testament to the strength of our alliance.  In my visits with U.S. service members and Japanese forces, I was struck by the close bonds of partnership and friendship that exist between our militaries, bonds that have grown even closer in the aftermath of the tragedy.

“On this anniversary of that tragic event, we remain committed to assist our Japanese friends to rebuild, to deepen our partnership with the Japanese Self Defense Forces, and to strengthen our great alliance.  Japan is more than just an ally.  It is also a great friend of America.  Together we will continue to forge ahead to achieve peace, prosperity, and a better future for both of our countries.

“I also want to thank the thousands of men and women in the Department of Defense who immediately answered the call and brought relief to Japanese and American citizens struggling amidst the devastation.  Within moments of disaster striking, the United States armed forces, under the leadership of Adm. Robert Willard, were fully mobilized to support the Japanese government in its response and recovery efforts.

“I believe the greatest service we can do is when we are able to reach out and help our fellow human beings in need.  Together, Japanese and American forces helped those in need, and solidified the friendship between our two great nations for generations to come.”