National

Emperor, Empress cancel summer retreat to Nasu over flood disaster

Kyodo

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have cancelled their planned summer retreat north of Tokyo following last weekend’s deadly torrential rain in western Japan, the Imperial Household Agency said Friday.

The Imperial Couple’s routine stay at an Imperial villa in the town of Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture, had been scheduled for Tuesday to Friday.

According to the agency, the couple are concerned about the search for the missing and recovery efforts in areas affected by flooding and landslides, as well as those staying in shelters amid the scorching weather.

Over 200 people died as a result of the heavy rain that mostly hit western Japan from Friday to Saturday.

The Emperor and Empress have already called off a private trip to Shizuoka Prefecture that was scheduled for earlier this week.

Crown Prince Naruhito has also cancelled a two-day visit through Thursday to Okayama, one of the hardest-hit prefectures. Crown Princess Masako was supposed to accompany him if in good health.

The 84-year-old Emperor rested at the Imperial Palace after feeling dizzy and nauseous earlier this month, but recovered and fully resumed his official duties a few days later.