• Kyodo

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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on Thursday visited Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima and laid flowers at the cenotaph for atomic bomb victims.

Afterward, the Imperial couple visited one of the city’s four nursing homes for hibakusha and offered words of encouragement to the elderly survivors.

The visit to the city is part of their activities to mark the 70th anniversary next year of the end of World War II and follows several visits to war-related places earlier this year.

In June, the Emperor and Empress visited Okinawa Prefecture, where they offered flowers at a national cemetery for the war dead, and in October they visited Nagasaki.

They are also expected to visit Palau, scene of one of the fiercest battles in the Pacific, possibly next April.

Also on their two-day trip to Hiroshima through Thursday, the Emperor and Empress met people affected by the devastating August mudslides. On Wednesday, they visited a disaster site in Asaminami Ward where they prayed for the victims.

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