Japan’s emperor, Akihito, expressed how “deeply concerned” he was about the worsening situation at a stricken nuclear power plant, and called on people to work together to overcome the country’s worst crisis since the second world war.
“I am deeply hurt by the grievous situation in the affected areas,” Akihito stated in his first public appearance since Japan was devastated by a powerful earthquake and tsunami in which more than 10,000 people may have died.
Akihito explained that events at the Fukushima Daiichi plant were “unpredictable”, hours after a surge in radiation levels urged the withdrawal of 70 workers who were battling to make the facility safe.
“I hope from the bottom of my heart that the people will, hand in hand, treat each other with compassion and over-come these difficult times,” Akihito continued.
Akihito is respected as a thoughtful, intelligent man and his opinions continue to hold power more than 65 years after his father, Hirohito, was forced to renounce his status after Japan’s defeat in the second world war, according to sources.
The imperial household agency said in a statement that Akihito and Empress Michiko wanted to visit the area hit by the tsunami but felt that the focus should stay on the rescue operation for now.
The imperial couple visited other disasters, including the western city of Kobe, where 6,400 people died in an earthquake- 1995, January.
“We don’t know the number of victims, but I pray that every single person can be saved,” Akihito.
Akihito thanked emergency workers and the more than 100 countries that offered aid/assistance with the rescue and recovery effort.
Akihito conveyed hope that the engineers and technicians trying to handle the disaster in Fukushima would be successful.