Japan royal couple visit tsunami-hit town MinamisanrikuApril 27th, 2011 - 6:46 pm ICT by ANI
Tokyo, Apr 27(ANI): Japan’s royal couple on Wednesday made their first visit to the area that bore the full force of last month’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami.
According to the Guardian, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko spoke to survivors at an evacuation shelter in Minamisanriku - a Miyagi prefecture town of 20,000 where 496 people died and another 656 are missing, presumed dead.
The tsunami destroyed 3,800 houses in the town, leaving over 6,000 people homeless.
The royal couple were greeted by rescue workers and briefed on recovery efforts.
They spent about 30 minutes speaking to some of the 200 evacuees living in a school gymnasium.
The pair later visited another shelter in Sendai before flying back to Tokyo on a military helicopter.
According to the Imperial Household Agency, the royal couple will visit disaster-hit Iwate prefecture on Monday, and travel to Fukushima prefecture on May 11 to meet people forced from their homes because of the nuclear crisis.
The crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been releasing large amounts of radioactive material, and the nuclear emergency level is currently on par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, described as the world’s worst ever-peacetime nuclear event. (ANI)
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