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Biden Visits Earthquake-Ravaged Japan, Offers Condolences

The White House/Pete Souza(SENDAI, Japan) -- Vice President Joe Biden traveled to earthquake  and tsunami-ravaged Northeastern Japan Tuesday, where he offered condolences for the lives lost in the March tragedy, and praise for the resiliency of the Japanese people.

“My dear mother, an old Irish lady, used to say in the most difficult moments -- including when I lost my wife and daughter -- she said, ‘Joey, out of everything terrible, something good will come if you look hard enough for it,’" Biden told a crowd of Japanese families, business leaders and local government and military officials in remarks at Sendai Airport.

"It’s hard to look for it.  It’s hard to accept that.  But it’s true,” he said.  "And the DNA of the Japanese people is riddled with the notion that it’s true."

The airport, closed in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, quickly reopened with help from the U.S. military which cleared the runway, allowing relief flights to deliver more than two million tons of supplies.  In April, the airport reopened to commercial flights.

“Within hours, our military launched what we refer to in English as ‘Operation Friend’ -- the single largest humanitarian relief effort in American history,” Biden said.  “And it was done without having to convince the American people of anything.  It was spontaneous.  It’s because of the affection for the people of Japan.  That's the building block upon which this partnership and alliance of ours is built.”

Biden said U.S. assistance to Japan in the wake of the disaster would continue indefinitely because of mutual economic and security interests, and a longstanding history of friendship between the two nations.  He said there was little that could break those ties.

“There are some around the world who are betting on the decline of America and the inability of Japan to rise again.  They are making a very bad bet,” Biden said.  “Both of us -- both of us will continue to grow and prosper.  And together -- together we are a significant part of the engine that will allow the world to recover."

Biden is in Japan on the last stop of his week-long, three country swing through East Asia.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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