27 Apr '11, 8am

Japan imperial couple visit tsunami zone

Japan imperial couple visit tsunami zone

MINAMISANRIKU: Japan's imperial couple made their first visit to the country's tsunami-ravaged northeast coast Wednesday to comfort survivors still huddling in evacuation shelters. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, living symbols of the nation's unity, visited a devastated coastal port town and were then headed for a sports gymnasium in Sendai city that also houses hundreds of newly homeless. Meeting survivors in Minamisanriku, now a wasteland of twisted debris and mud, the 77-year-old emperor knelt on the floor and futon mattresses on a crowded evacuation centre to speak with families. "How's your health? Are you OK?" asked Akihito, wearing a plain beige jacket over a grey sweater, as the 76-year-old empress also spoke with evacuees in the town with a pre-quake population of around 20,000 people. Since the disaster, 496 bodies have been recovered there and 656 people a...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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