• Kyodo

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Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako attended an opening ceremony Sunday for an institute set up to lead research into the Great Hanshin Earthquake, which devastated parts of western Japan in 1995.

The Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution in Kobe was set up by the Hyogo Prefectural government to chronicle the disaster for the benefit of specialists in disaster planning. The quake killed some 6,400 people in Kobe and its vicinity.

“I hope this institution will contribute to the world,” Crown Prince Naruhito said.

Before attending the ceremony, he and Crown Princess Masako offered flowers at a monument at the institute containing a list of the names of the 6,454 people known to have died from the quake.

Hyogo Gov. Toshizo Ido said in a speech, “The lessons of the earthquake are the common property of the world. Handing the story down from generation to generation is our responsibility.”

The institute will open Saturday and feature a permanent exhibition covering the history of the quake.

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