Hillary Visits Japan and offers sympathy and support

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Japan since its devastating earthquake and tsunami last month, Sunday expressed sympathy and support in meetings with the country’s prime minister and various officials as well its emperor and empress in a rare audience over afternoon tea.

Arriving at the imperial palace residence, Clinton shook the emperor’s hand and kissed the empress on both cheeks. “I’m so, so sorry for everything your country is going through. If there’s anything we can do for you . . . ,” Clinton said as she held the empress’s hands.

The effusive statements of support and appreciation from both sides during the visit reflect a high-water mark in the relationship — spurred on by strong U.S. support since the March 11 earthquake with funding, disaster relief and nuclear expertise.

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