Washington event remembers 3/11 disaster

The Japanese Embassy in the United States has hosted an event to mark the 10th anniversary of the March 11 disaster in northeastern Japan.

US officials who were involved in helping recovery efforts were invited to the gathering on Monday in Washington.

The governors and residents of the three affected Japanese prefectures conveyed their gratitude, in video messages, for US help extended shortly after a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan.

US-Japan Council President and CEO Suzanne Basalla spoke at the meeting. The USJC is involved in exchange programs between the two countries. Basalla was working at the US Embassy in Tokyo at the time of the disaster.

She said the cooperation between the two countries not only got them through the crisis, but also "transformed the alliance and made it stronger and more resilient."

The US Ambassador to Japan at that time, John Roos, said in a speech that Japan and the US have always helped each other in their time of need.

Roos said, "It really gets back to the connections between our two peoples and the people to people relations." He emphasized the need for cultural exchanges such as between students.

Basalla told reporters that she thinks it's really important to "take the time to reflect on the lessons of ten years ago. She said, "Around the world, so many countries are facing extreme weather and challenges because of rising seas."

She said, "The US and Japan need to be able to take care of ourselves and each other and contribute to the world as well."