Nearly a week has passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake struck Japan at 14:46 local time (05:46 GMT) on Friday, 11 March 2011. Prime Minister Kan described the disaster as 'unprecedented'. The Government of Japan is mobilizing approximately 100,000 Self-Defense Force personnel and 6,000 police officers, and as a result of their dedicated efforts nearly 27,000 people have been rescued so far under extremely difficult circumstances.
I am most grateful to the British Government for dispatching a 63-strong rescue team, who have done all they can do to assist in the relief operations. While the relevant authorities in Japan are using every possible means to respond to this disaster, assistance such as that extended by the UK is highly appreciated.
May I take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude for the many kind messages of concern and sympathy that we have received. Please note that a Book of Condolence for the victims of the disaster has been opened at the Embassy. In addition, the Embassy has begun to accept donations for the relief efforts.
I have heard of numerous events being promoted by both Japanese and British people in the UK to help the victims in Japan. I am sincerely grateful to see our two peoples pulling together at this very difficult time.