White House declines to endorse Japanese government crisis response

Obama administration officials Thursday repeatedly declined to endorse how the Japanese government is handing the crisis there, a day after the United States urged Americans to stay at least 50 miles away from one of Japan’s damaged nuclear plants rather than the 12 miles recommended by Japanese authorities.

At a White House press briefing Thursday afternoon, several reporters asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko if the U.S had faith and confidence in the Japanese government’s response to the nuclear crisis.

Carney said the U.S. had confidence that the Japanese are “fully aware” of the situation and were accepting help from the American government, but would not endorse the Japanese performance.

The press conference suggested possible waning confidence in Japan’s handling of the crisis. It came after President Obama spoke late Wednesday night with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan about relief efforts.

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