Japan Emperor, Empress Encourage Kumamoto Rain Victims Online

Society

Tokyo, Jan. 27 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako in online meetings Wednesday encouraged people in Kumamoto Prefecture, southwestern Japan, which was hit hard by the July 2020 rain disaster.

It was the first time for the Imperial couple to send words of encouragement to disaster victims online. Following the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Emperor and the Empress started to inspect hospitals and care facilities for elderly people online in November last year.

At the start of the video session, Kumamoto Governor Ikuo Kabashima, from the Kumamoto prefectural government office, briefed Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako on the extent of damage from the rain disaster, which claimed 65 lives and left two people missing. Then, the Imperial couple's residence in Minato Ward in Tokyo and the municipal offices of the cities of Hitoyoshi and Yatsushiro, the town of Ashikita and the village of Kuma were connected online.

After watching a video showing afflicted areas soon after the disaster and how they look now, Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako talked to surviving victims and people who engaged in relief activities, including firefighters and police officers.

"Are you doing all right as it's getting colder there?" the Emperor told Shuichi Yamagami, 76, from Hitoyoshi, who has still been evacuated and unable to return to his home. Yamagami's home was inundated to the second floor in the disaster.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press