From President Barack Obama:
“First and foremost, our thoughts and our prayers are with the people of Japan. This is a potentially catastrophic disaster and the images of destruction and flooding coming out of Japan are simply heartbreaking. Japan is, of course, one of strongest and closest allies and this morning I spoke to Prime Minister Kan. On behalf of the American people, I conveyed our deepest condolences, especially to the victims and their families and I offered our Japanese friends whatever assistance is needed.
“We currently have an aircraft carrier in Japan and another is on its way. We also have a ship en route to the Marianas Islands to assist as needed. The Defense Department is working to account for all of our military personnel in Japan. U.S. Embassy personnel in Tokyo have moved to an off-site location and the State Department is working to account for and assist any and all American citizens in the country.
“Tsunami warnings have been issued across the Pacific and we’ve already seen initial waves from the tsunami come across the shore in Guam and in other U.S. territories, in Alaska and Hawaii, as well as along the West Coast.
“Here, in the Unites States, there hasn’t been any major damage so far but we are taking this very seriously and we are monitoring the situation very closely. FEMA is fully activated and is coordinating with state and local officials to support these regions as necessary. And let me just stress, if people are told to evacuate, do as you are told.
“Today’s events remind us of just how fragile life can be. Our hearts go out to our friends in Japan and across the region and we are going to stand with them as they recover and rebuild from this tragedy.”
From Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland:
“My thoughts and prayers are with the Japanese people in the aftermath of this morning’s earthquake. We do not yet know the full extent of the damage and casualties caused by this disaster, but the images from Japan this morning have been heartbreaking.
“We also must be vigilant about the possibility of aftershocks and tsunami waves extending from Japan all the way to my home state of California and the Pacific Coast of the United States. I encourage my constituents and all those in affected areas to take warnings and advisories seriously and follow the instructions of emergency management personnel and local officials.
“I echo the President’s commitment to stand with Japan as they begin the difficult task of recovering and rebuilding from this disaster.”
From California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom:
“I send my heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the people of Japan, especially those families that have experienced loss since the devastating earthquake and tsunami occurred. As a member of the California Emergency Council, I continue to monitor the situation closely and assure all Californians that we are prepared should our state face any disaster.”
From state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco:
“I extend my deepest condolences to the people of Japan and to all those in California who have loved ones living, visiting, or stationed in Japan. As we have often done with other international catastrophes, our community in the Bay Area and throughout the state stands ready to help. I have called the Consulate General of Japan to express my concern and willingness to provide any possible support in the days and months ahead.”
UPDATE @ 11:26 A.M.: From Gov. Jerry Brown:
“Our thoughts are with the people of Japan as they endure this tragedy. I have directed California’s Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) to make state resources available to the Japanese government, and we stand ready to assist them. Cal EMA has been on full alert since early this morning, and tsunami warnings were issued for the state’s coastal areas. I urge Californians living in affected areas to follow all instructions from state and federal response agencies.”
UPDATE @ 11:30 A.M.: From U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., whose staff has reached out to officials at the Japanese Embassy in Washington and the Japanese Consulates in San Francisco and Los Angeles as well as to Japanese-American community leaders to discuss ways to assist in the relief effort:
“My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan and the Japanese-American community following this horrific tragedy. We stand ready to assist the Japanese people as they work to recover and rebuild.
“I commend federal, state and local officials for their vigilance in alerting residents along the West Coast to the threat of a tsunami and helping those in low-lying areas to evacuate to higher ground.”
More after the jump…
UPDATE @ 3:25 P.M.: From California Attorney General Kamala Harris:
“We are saddened by the widespread loss of life and extensive damage the Japanese people have suffered. As the surges of the tsunami waves on our shores demonstrate, we are connected to Japan, touched by its tragedy. In coming days, Californians, along with all Americans, must focus on helping Japan rebuild and recover.”