Obama to Japan: Americans Are Heartbroken

Read the full transcript of the president's remarks on the ongoing disaster.

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President Barack Obama on Thursday afternoon made a statement on the Japan disaster. He emphasized that harmful levels of radiation are not expected to reach the United States and requested a comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear power plant safety.

Addressing the Japanese people, he assured them that are not alone and they have support from the U.S., and expressed confidence that Japan will recover and rebuild.

Read the full transcript here:

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE SITUATION IN JAPAN
Rose Garden
3:35 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everyone. Over the last several days, the American people have been both heartbroken and deeply concerned about the developments in Japan.

We've seen an earthquake and tsunami render unimaginable -- an unimaginable toll of death and destruction on one of our closest friends and allies in the world. And we've seen this powerful natural disaster cause even more catastrophe through its impact on nuclear reactors that bring peaceful energy to the people of Japan.

Today I wanted to update the American people on what we know about the situation in Japan, what we're doing to support American citizens and the safety of our own nuclear energy, and how we are helping the Japanese people contain the damage, recover and rebuild.

First, we are bringing all available resources to bear to closely monitor the situation, and to protect American citizens who may be in harm's way. Even as Japanese responders continue to do heroic work, we know that the damage to the nuclear reactors in Fukushima Daiichi plant poses a substantial risk to people who are nearby. That is why yesterday we called for an evacuation of American citizens who are within 50 miles of the plant. This decision was based upon a careful scientific evaluation and the guidelines that we would use to keep our citizens safe here in the United States, or anywhere in the world.

Beyond this 50-mile radius, the risks do not currently call for an evacuation. But we do have a responsibility to take prudent and precautionary measures to educate those Americans who may be endangered by exposure to radiation if the situation deteriorates. That's why last night I authorized the voluntary departures of family members and dependents of U.S. officials working in northeastern Japan.

All U.S. citizens in Japan should continue to carefully monitor the situation and follow the guidance of the U.S. and Japanese governments. And those who are seeking assistance should contact our embassy and consulates, which continue to be open and operational.