Business, Economics and Jobs

Biden tours Japan quake area, confirms Okinawa military base deal

Vice President Joe Biden affirmed U.S. support for Japan as he visited areas devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Biden, on the last stop of a three-country Asian tour that began last week in China, said he was "humbled" by what he was seeing as he toured the hard-hit city of Sendai on Tuesday, VOA reports.

"America will stand by Japan for as long as it takes," Biden said after meeting with survivors of the disasters, the WSJ reports.

Earlier in Tokyo, Biden met with Prime Minister Naoto Kan,who thanked the vice president for the "enormous assistance" provided by the U.S., including the deployment of a naval task force immediately after the March 11 disasters, and for technical assistance in dealing with the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant crisis.

According to VOA:

The U.S. assistance to Japan has helped to improve a relationship that was strained by the long-running dispute over the stationing of U.S. troops on Okinawa.

Although talks were constrained by Kan's plans to hand over power to a new party leader next week, the leaders confirmed they will go ahead with a controversial decision to move a U.S. military base on Okinawa to another location on the same island.

Biden also addressed the perceived economic decline of both countries, VOA reports.

"There are some who are betting on the decline of America and the inability of Japan to recover. That's a bad bet. Both of us will continue to grow and prosper ... Together we are a significant part of the [global economic] engine."

He called Japan "the anchor" of U.S. relationships in Asia, despite the economic growth of other countries.

In China, Biden had sought to assure Beijing that the U.S. economy remained strong despite the recent unprecedented ratings downgrade by Standard and Poor's.