Imperial Couple to mark Kobe quake

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will visit Kobe in January to mark the 10th anniversary of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake.

The Imperial Household Agency said Thursday the couple plan to make a three-day visit to Kobe beginning Jan. 16. The following day, they will attend a memorial ceremony and meet with the representative of relatives of the quake fatalities, it said.

On Jan. 18, the Emperor and Empress will attend the opening ceremony of the U.N. World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe before returning to Tokyo in the evening.

In late January 1995, the couple spent a day in areas hit by the quake. They also visited Kobe in April 2001.