Embassy Observes One-Year Anniversary of March 11
Mar 9 - Ambassador John V. Roos led the U.S. Embassy in observing the one-year anniversary of the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. To honor the memory of all the victims of March 11, a ceremony was held during which a cherry tree from Fukushima prefecture was planted in a garden in front of the Embassy, symbolizing the enduring bonds between the United States and Japan. The cherry tree was donated by Mr. Youzaburo Ishihara, a Diet member representing District 1 of Fukushima Prefecture, who attended the ceremony and delivered a moving speech. Attendees observed a moment of silence at 2:46 p.m., the exact time that the earthquake struck a year ago on March 11.
During the ceremony, Ambassador Roos remarked: "One year ago we stood here together outside the Embassy at the beginning of an unprecedented great crisis ... Today we share a confident resolve, having worked hard together over the last year to help Japan in her time of need. ... So from today onward, every visitor that passes through these gates will see this tree and remember not just what happened in March of 2011, the many thousands of people who remain in our thoughts and prayers, but also the true meaning of friendship between nations."
In addition to the ceremony, Ambassador Roos and the Commander of U.S. Forces, Japan (USFJ), Lt. Gen. Burton M. Field, issued a joint statement on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. The flags at the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Consulates in Japan will be flown at half-staff on March 11, 2012 to further honor the victims of the terrible tragedy.