Friday, October 1, 1999 Published at 14:08 GMT 15:08 UK
US and Russia to help Japan
The US military declined to help at first but still may provide support
By BBC Washington Correspondent Richard Lister
The United States and Russia have offered to send a joint team to Japan, to help deal with the nuclear accident there.
President Clinton said the United States would do whatever was possible to help with the situation, although the Japanese Defence Ministry said the US military had turned down a request for assistance.
He said the US troops were "prepared to provide any assistance we can".
Speaking at the White House, Mr Clinton said the US would provide assistance to Japan as quickly as possible.
American diplomats and technicians are consulting closely with their counterparts in Tokyo, to see what help the United States can offer.
US experts standing by
Mr Richardson said the American technicians could offer advice on how to protect people in the affected area and how to monitor the atmosphere.
He said the US also had specialised robots which could operate in hot and contaminated conditions.
A Defence official in Tokyo said American forces stationed in Japan had rejected calls for assistance, saying they had neither the expertise nor the equipment to deal with a nuclear accident.
But a spokesman in Washington said the US Defence Department was waiting to get a better idea of what the Japanese authorities needed, and that if the US military could help, it would.