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NAHA, Okinawa — Okinawa Gov. Keiichi Inamine on Friday presented a donation of about $9,000 to U.S. Consulate General Thomas Reich as, the governor said, an expression of sympathy and compassion for Hurricane Katrina survivors.

“We are deeply concerned about the damages caused by Hurricane Katrina,” Inamine said as he handed the donation to Reich in the governor’s office in Naha.

Inamine said people of Okinawa, an island prefecture known as “Typhoon Alley,” understand the hurricane victims’ pain and suffering.

He also handed Reich sympathy letters addressed to governors of the four states that incurred substantial damages in the hurricane: Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi and Alabama.

“We extend our deepest sympathy to the victims, many of whom are socially vulnerable,” Inamine said. “Tremendous amounts of money, effort and time will be needed to restore the damaged areas.”

He said he would encourage Okinawans to join him in further efforts to support the survivors.

Reich replied in fluent Japanese, saying, “We are grateful to your kindness, encouragement and condolence to the families who lost their loved ones. On behalf of the U.S. government, I will express my gratitude for your generous donation.”

He said the gesture “will serve as a symbol of friendship between the United States and Okinawa.”

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