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Pop star Justin Bieber encourages Japanese children to look forward to the future after earthquake and tsunami

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Canadian pop star Justin Bieber met with Japanese children whose lives have been devastated by an earthquake, tsunami and an ongoing nuclear crisis that has forced thousands of families from their homes.

In Japan for several concerts, the 17-year-old singer spoke briefly with nearly a dozen kids, including some from Otsuchi, a northeastern town massively damaged by the March 11 tsunami.

One boy from Otsuchi read a card from the children to Bieber, thanking him for meeting with them.”We have friends who lost their family and their homes, some have left our school. The town is covered with wreckage and it will take a long time to get back to normal,” he said.”But we will work hard for this. Please give us courage through your music.”

Bieber, who had earlier told the children that they “were an inspiration,” said in return that life would improve. “Things can get better and things will get better. There are only good times to come,” he said.

Bieber has already contributed to a charity album “Songs For Japan” with artists such as Lady Gaga and Bob Dylan, which has raised over $5 million for the victims of the disasters that have left nearly 25,000 people dead or missing.

Bieber performed in the western city of Osaka to a sold-out venue and next appears at Tokyo’s fabled Budokan for another sold-out performance.

See www.reuters.com for the story.