Our House of Reps Resolution in Response to Japan Earthquake

03/15/2011 08:51 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

On March 15, 2011, as a Japanese-American Member of Congress and Chairman Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I introduced House Resolution 172:

Expressing heartfelt condolences and support for assistance to the people of Japan and all those affected in the aftermath of the deadly earthquake and tsunamis of March 11, 2011.

Whereas on March 11, 2011, an estimated 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the northeast coast of Japan, approximately 80 miles from the coastal city of Sendai;

Whereas the massive earthquake was the most powerful on record to hit Japan and the fourth strongest in the world since 1900, according to the U.S. Geological Survey;

Whereas the earthquake has been followed by more than 200 aftershocks, some reaching magnitudes above 6.0 and triggering additional tsunami warnings;

Whereas the massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake produced a major tsunami nearly 30 feet in height which surged several miles inland in Japan;

Whereas the tsunami traveled across the Pacific Ocean at an approximate speed of 500 miles per hour, prompting warnings and alerts for over 50 countries and territories throughout the Pacific Ocean, including the United States and her territories;

Whereas the tsunami's impact on the United States included two casualties, forced evacuations, and significant property damage initially reported in Kealakekua, Maalaea Harbor, and Kahului in Hawaii; Crescent City, Fort Bragg, and Santa Cruz harbors in California; and the port of Brookings-Harbor in Oregon;

Whereas by March 14, 2011, states of emergency were declared for Hawaii and California's Del Norte, Humboldt, San Mateo, and Santa Cruz counties with others to possibly follow;

Whereas videos and aerial images taken immediately following the tsunami's impact on Japan show flooded towns and farmland, collapsed buildings and homes, raging fires, and hundreds of automobiles, trains, and boats swept away;

Whereas four nuclear power plants in Fukushima Prefecture were immediately shutdown due to safety concerns about damage sustained and prompted the evacuation of thousands of local residents;

Whereas by March 14, 2011, states of emergency continue at the Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini nuclear power plants due to multiple explosions, threats of leaking radiation, and possible nuclear meltdown;

Whereas after the earthquake and tsunami impact, nearly half a million people in Japan were displaced and millions more were left without power;

Whereas by March 14, 2011, the National Police Agency of Japan reported the number of people affected at 1897 casualties, 1885 injured, and 3002 missing;

Whereas the police chief of Miyagi Prefecture, prefecture nearest to the epicenter of the earthquake, predicted that the casualties could be over 10,000 in that area alone;

Whereas the full extent of the tremendous loss of life and destruction of property will not be known for some time;

Whereas Japan Prime Minister Naoto Kan addressed the people of Japan and said that "this is the biggest crisis we have faced in our 65-year post-war history";

Whereas the people of Japan have demonstrated steadfast courage, selflessness, resilience, and compassion during this tragedy;

Whereas international groups and private citizens have quickly and compassionately rallied humanitarian assistance and donations for the people of Japan;

Whereas over 70 nations have offered relief assistance and many have sent disaster response teams to Japan, including a search and rescue team from New Zealand, which was devastated by an earthquake on February 22, 2011;

Whereas the United States helped to rebuild Japan following World War II, fostering an enduring friendship between the two peoples;

Whereas the friendship between the United States and Japan is based upon shared democratic ideals, strong economic ties, and a mutual security partnership;

Whereas the United States rapidly responded to the earthquake by sending to Japan two United States Agency for International Development (USAID) urban search and rescue teams, a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team, and U.S. naval vessels including the USS Ronald Reagan battle group; and

Whereas President Barack Obama affirmed United States' support and assistance to the people of Japan by offering his condolences and declared that "the United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial."

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) mourns with the people of Japan and all the countries affected for the horrific loss of life caused by the tragic earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011;

(2) expresses its deepest condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims of this tragedy;

(3) applauds the prompt commitments of support and humanitarian efforts already underway by the international community, relief agencies, and private citizens;

(4) reaffirms the longstanding friendship shared between the United States and Japan;

(5) pledges its full support and solidarity with the people of Japan and all others affected by this tragedy as they struggle to rebuild their lives in the wake of this disaster; and

(6) urges the United States Government to continue to provide assistance to Japan and damaged U.S. communities during their recovery and reconstruction efforts.