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Tea, sympathy and solidarity: Clinton meets Akihito

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Tea, sympathy and solidarity: Clinton meets Akihito
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The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has had a rare meeting with the Japanese Emperor Akihito in a show of solidarity after the earthquake and tsunami disaster.

Earlier Clinton urged Japan to remain on the world stage despite the problems, saying it is ‘indispensible to global problem-solving.’ She also announced the creation of a public-private partnership to help Japan re-build from the world’s most expensive natural disaster.

Her flying visit came as TEPCO, the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, announced that it hopes to achieve what it calls ‘cold shutdown’ within six to nine months. That would effectively end the crisis there.

The company said the first step would be to cool the reactors and spent fuel to a stable level in the first three months before finally making them safe. Later it plans to put a cover over the shattered reactor buildings.

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