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Kan, U.S. VP hold talks on joint post-quake rebuilding efforts

(Xinhua)

14:48, August 23, 2011

TOKYO, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden held talks in Tokyo Tuesday centered around cooperation in reconstruction efforts in east and northeastern regions of Japan devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The talks held at Kan's office spanned the U.S. continued pledge to help support Japan's reconstruction efforts, nuclear safety issues, as well as bilateral plans to relocate a controversial U.S. marine base within Okinawa prefecture.

The significance of the two countries' half-century security alliance was also discussed, according to officials from both sides.

Biden is in Japan for a three-day trip and he will visit Sendai, the capital city of Miyagi Prefecture and the largest city in the quake and tsunami-hit Tohoku Region on Tuesday afternoon, Biden's aides said.

He is scheduled to give a speech at Sendai airport, which was largely damaged by the massive tsunami, but also the site of " Operation Tomodachi" where the U.S. military launched rescue, relief and massive clean-up missions almost instantly after the megaquake and ensuing tsunami struck the region.

The United States has mobilized more than 20,000 troops and around 160 aircraft in operations following the disaster and is also instrumental in helping contain the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster, the worst atomic crisis in 25 years.

The U.S. vice president will be the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the disaster-ravaged northeast region of Japan.

Prior to his arrival in Japan, Biden has visited China and Mongolia.He will also make a high-profile stop-off at the U.S. Yokota air base, the military headquarters of the U.S. in Japan, located in western Tokyo to conclude his tour.

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