Gov. Chris Gregoire issued the following statement, thanking the nation of Japan for its financial support to help remove tsunami debris from coastal beaches:
"I am extremely grateful to the nation of Japan for their friendship and generosity. We deeply appreciate such assistance from a nation that is still working hard to recover from the devastating March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami. We continue to offer our condolences for the tragedy that claimed so many lives and the need for so much rebuilding in Japan, and continue to admire the strength, commitment and resilience of the Japanese people.
"This commitment by the government of Japan is yet another demonstration of the nation's continued contributions to the international community. The funds will be used wisely and with great care to help our coastal communities respond to possible increases in debris and protect our coastal environment.
"I consider Japan a close friend -- and was honored and moved to visit the nation shortly after the tsunami to lay a wreath of flowers in memory of the victims from Yuriage, a small fishing village in the Miyagi Prefecture. The United States and Washington state have enjoyed strong collaboration with the Japanese on the issue of marine debris, and we in Washington look forward to continuing our cooperative efforts with Japan's embassy, consulates, and the broader Japanese government."