Cameron hails Japan earthquake response

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David Cameron paid tribute today to Japan's "inspirational" response to the earthquake and tsunami disaster.

The Prime Minister visited the Japanese Embassy in London this afternoon to sign Ambassador Keiichi Hayashi's book of condolence.

"This comes with the deepest sympathy and condolences from the British Government and British people to everyone in Japan who has suffered from the earthquake and tsunami," Mr Cameron wrote.

"We are your friend and stand with you at this time.

"We will do all we can to help you recover as we know you will.

"Indeed the courage and resilience of everyone in Japan, including the nuclear workers and emergency services, has been inspirational and the true spirit of your great country."

Police estimates have indicated a death toll of about 18,000 from this month's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the subsequent tsunami which devastated large areas of the country.

Emergency services have had to co-ordinate a massive clean-up and rescue operation while nuclear workers battle to avert disaster at affected power station reactors.

Mr Cameron also met Mr Hayashi and spoke to Japanese broadcaster NHK during the embassy visit.

He told NHK that the British people's "hearts go out" to those affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

"We want to help you recover as we know that you will. And frankly we have been so impressed by the incredible courage and the resilience and dedication of all the Japanese people but perhaps particularly the workers in the nuclear industry, the people in the emergency services, their steadfastness their resilience has been a true inspiration.

"It shows the real spirit of your country. And it demonstrates that you will recover, we know that and we will be with you all the way."