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Japan's crown prince, princess visit evacuees in Fukushima

Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako talk with evacuees at a temporary housing unit in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, on Sunday.

Publication Date : 24-09-2013


Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako made a day trip to Fukushima Prefecture recently to encourage evacuees in the wake of the March 2011 disasters.

The couple on Sunday inspected Fukushima Technology Center in Koriyama, an organisation that measures the radiation level of foods produced in the prefecture to help combat misunderstandings about radiation.

They then visited a temporary housing complex for evacuees. Most of the residents of the 47 units in the complex were elderly people who were forced to evacuate from their homes in Futaba, one of the towns that is home to Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Greeted by elderly people seated in chairs, the royal couple talked to them for about 25 minutes.

The crown prince showed his concern for a 93-year-old woman who lives in the temporary housing, asking: “How is your life? It was hot this summer, wasn’t it?”

When a 76-year-old woman who lost her husband after the earthquake told the crown princess she was hard of hearing, Princess Masako moved her face closer to the woman’s ear and said comfortingly: “I’m sorry for your loss. Take care of yourself.” The woman wiped her tears away with a handkerchief.

The royal couple’s next destination was a large indoor playground for children called PEP Kids Koriyama where they saw children enjoying such activities as playing house and jumping into a ball pit. Seeing a parent and child jumping on a large inflatable trampoline, the crown prince asked the crown princess to go inside it with him. They jumped together, smiling.


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