March 17th, 2011
03:15 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama made an unexpected visit this afternoon to the Japanese Embassy to sign a book of condolences for earthquake and tsunami victims. The Ambassador of Japan Ichuro Fujisaki stood at the back of the "Old Residence" room as the president sat and quietly wrote his message.
The book, on a small table with a white tablecloth, sat next to the flag of Japan faced a second table with 5 vases of flowers each with a hand-made card.
Filling the page the president wrote, "Please know that America will always stand by one of its greatest allies during their time of need."
After signing the book the President Obama said, “We feel a great urgency to provide assistance to those who have been displaced from their homes, who are suffering enormously at this moment.” He added, “I am confident that Japan will rebuild. It has people who are strong, who are resilient, who are dedicated to their country, who are brilliant, and so as difficult as this period of time is, I am confident that Japan will emerge even stronger than before.”
The Ambassador from Japan thanked the people of the United States and said “we are working 24 hours, and their sympathy, assistance means a lot to all Japanese.”