“We hope the Japanese people will quickly overcome the difficulties and rebuild their homeland,” Hu said.
Tension between the two neighbors had been high in recent months. Relations chilled last September after a Chinese fishing trawler collided with Japanese patrol vessels near a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea, close to potentially vast oil and gas reserves.
Chinese leaders, including Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao, were quick to send sympathy and offers of support immediately after the disaster struck, including a 15-member rescue team and 30 million yuan ($4.5 million) in relief supplies.
A week earlier, President Hu had extended a message of condolence to Japanese Emperor Akihito as well. From Xinhua News:
In a message, Hu mourned the dead and extended condolences to the Japanese emperor.
Hu said the Chinese government and people stand ready to offer necessary help.