Emperor, Empress to visit 2011 disaster-hit Fukushima, Miyagi in March


Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko are planning to visit Miyagi and Fukushima, two of the three prefectures worst damaged by the massive earthquake and tsunami about five years ago, on March 16-18, sources said Thursday.

The Imperial Couple plan to travel to the two northeastern prefectures after attending a government-sponsored memorial ceremony in Tokyo on March 11 to mark the fifth anniversary of the disasters.

The Emperor and Empress will arrive in Fukushima on March 16 and have talks with those who experienced the disasters and move on to Miyagi within the day, the sources said. During their stay in Miyagi, the couple will visit a fisheries product firm in the town of Onagawa.

The couple are slated to attend the 2016 national athletic meet in Iwate, the remaining hardest-hit prefecture. It will be the first time since 2011 for the Imperial Couple to visit the three prefectures within a year.