Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on Thursday met in Hanoi with the Vietnamese spouses of Japanese soldiers who decided to stay behind in what is now known as Vietnam after WWII.

The meeting with the abandoned wives and offspring of Japanese war veterans is part of the Imperial Couple's efforts to sooth some of the wounds inflicted by the war. Wives and children of Japanese soldiers faced discrimination and other hardships after their husbands returned to Japan.

The Emperor, 83, and Empress, 82, began their first visit to Vietnam on Tuesday to promote goodwill. They are scheduled to stay until Sunday, when they will travel from the ancient city of Hue to Thailand.