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Key honours shared disaster experience with Japan

Published: 7:26PM Monday September 10, 2012 Source: ONE News

Prime Minister John Key has visited an area devastated by last year's tsunami in Japan, ahead of a meeting with his Japanese counterpart.

Key today toured the Sendai region, 18 months since a tsunami flattened the coastal region.

Sendai was one of the areas worst hit by the March 2011 tsunami, which is reported to have killed around 18,000 people and caused billions of dollar's worth of damage.

Key said there was much to be gained from the shared experience of the magnitude 6.3 earthquake that devastated Christchurch in 2011 and Japan's earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

"We're working together with the Japanese Government on the structure of our buildings and I know they're closely following what's coming out of the Royal Commission in terms of any learnings coming from there."

Key said the natural disasters saw Japan and New Zealand support each other in a time of need.

"I remember very clearly the urban search and rescue people coming to me the day of the earthquake and tsunami here (Japan).

"They were physically exhausted from the work they had done in Christchurch yet they virtually demanded to come up here."

The shared experience between the two countries was formally marked with a moving ceremony in Tohoku where Key honoured the Japanese students killed in the collapse of the CTV building.

After visiting Sendai today, Key will return to Tokyo for bilateral meetings tomorrow with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.