Current Emperor, Empress Attend March 2011 Ceremony for 1st Time

Society

Tokyo, March 11 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Emperor Naruhito, who ascended the throne in May 2019, and Empress Masako attended a government-hosted memorial ceremony for victims of the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami for the first time on Thursday.

At the ceremony, held at the National Theatre in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, the Emperor and the Empress, both wearing face masks amid the novel coronavirus epidemic, bowed their heads in front of an altar for the disaster victims and observed a minute of silence from 2:46 p.m. (5:46 a.m. GMT), the time when the 9.0-magnitude quake hit mainly the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan exactly 10 years ago.

"It is a matter of great importance, I believe, that we all keep ourselves united, and everlastingly maintain the will to stand by the afflicted people so that the progress of the reconstruction will steadily bear fruit...in order to help all of them regain their peaceful lives in less than no time," Emperor Naruhito said in a speech.

"I, together with the Empress, would like to continue to listen to the voices of those in the afflicted regions and stay close to them," he added.

The ceremony, held for the first time in two years, marked the last state-sponsored memorial event for the tragedy. Last year's ceremony was canceled due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press