South Korean President Lee Myung-bak came close to Japan's crippled nuclear power plant and tasted cherry tomatoes and other vegetables produced in the region Saturday in a symbolic visit underlining Seoul's support for the disaster-stricken neighboring nation. Lee made the visit to Fukushima, home to the quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, together with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao before the leaders traveled to Tokyo for an annual tripartite summit set for Sunday. Lee and Wen were the first foreign leaders to visit the region since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami struck the power plant, causing damaged reactors to leak radiation in the world's worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. "As a true friend of Japan, our government and people would share your suffering and actively participate in recovery efforts," Lee said during a visit to Azuma General Athletic Park being used as a shelter for homeless residents. The facility is located about 60 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. South Korea had advised its citizens to stay at least 80 km away from the plant after fears of exposure to radiation spiked in March when the accident threatened to get out of control. In front of the gymnasium, Lee, Kan and Wen tasted cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and other vegetables produced in Fukushima in a gesture meant to show that foods from the region are safe to consume. Kan expressed deep gratitude, saying Lee's visit gave a lot of encouragement for victims, officials said. Earlier in the day, Lee visited another tsunami-damaged region, Sendai, to comfort displaced residents there. Sendai is where a team of South Korean specialists had carried out search and rescue operations as the first foreign rescue team to arrive in Japan following the disaster. Lee offered flowers in front of the rubbles of destroyed homes and observed a moment of silence. "This was a disaster that went beyond the limit of human capabilities," a solemn-faced Lee said during a visit to a tsunami-razed area where ships and vehicles still remained abandoned in the middle of farmland. "I offer words of comfort to the Japanese people. In particular, children must have suffered a lot of shock. I hope they will recover quickly," Lee said. "South Korean people have asked me to convey heartfelt sympathies. ... The world was surprised at the restrained attitude and the courage the Japanese people have shown." Lee also held a meeting with South Koreans living in Sendai, saying his country has been providing Japan with as much help as possible as a neighbor, and that Korean residents in Japan should be granted the voting rights, a long-pending issue. After the disaster, South Koreans and their government set aside hard feelings about Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule and provided full support for the neighboring nation in an unprecedented outpouring of sympathy and support for the historical rival.