LOS ANGELES (AP) — Japan’s consul general has expressed gratitude to a Los Angeles County Fire Department urban search and rescue team that rushed across the Pacific to help in the aftermath of the devastating quake and tsunami.

City News Service reports that Junichi Ihara told the county Board of Supervisors Tuesday that the team was already en route to the disaster zone when many in Japan were still scrambling to mobilize.

County Fire Chief Daryl Osby says the rescue team’s experience in Japan would ultimately help serve county residents.

Ihara says that besides the area near the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Japan is open for business and safe for tourists.

He urged Southern Californians to consider vacationing in Japan, which will need tourism to make a successful economic recovery.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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