Don't count US, Japan out, Biden tells the world

Aug 23 - US Vice President Joe Biden said on Tuesday the United States would overcome its debt crisis and Japan would move on from its devastating earthquake in March, warning doubters not to count the two countries out.

Biden, who kicked off a trip to Asia last week with talks in Beijing, met Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan in Tokyo to discuss rebuilding efforts after the March 13 earthquake and tsunami which killed more than 20,000 people and triggered the world's biggest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

In opening remarks, Biden said he had come to Japan to express US sympathy and admiration for Japan's handling of the earthquake and he made a robust case that neither Japan nor the United States was in decline.

"While you're struggling to deal with one of the greatest natural disasters any country has faced and we are dealing with getting our budget in order, there are voices in the world who are counting us out," Biden said.

"They're making a very bad bet."

Kan thanked Biden for the "enormous assistance" the United States had provided to Japan and said his visit was a positive signal.

"We are back in business," Kan said, according to a translator. "This visit ... demonstrates to the world that Japan is open for business."

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