In a rare television appearance, Japan’s 77-year-old Emperor Akihito spoke to the nation this afternoon, only days after the worst earthquake and tsunami in living memory in Japan, in an effort to calm and comfort people. Japanese emperors usually only give televised speeches during times of war or extreme crisis. (Watch Full Translated Speech at BBC News)
Emperor Akihito said the disaster was on an “unprecedented scale”. He continued by saying “I feel deeply sorry for the people who suffered in this terrible disaster. The accident at the nuclear power plant causes deep worry and I hope efforts by staff can avert the situation from getting worse.”He also thanked everyone who is helping with the rescue effort, including foreign governments and citizens.The death toll in Japan from the earthquake and tsunami however is still increasing, and has officially now reached 3,771. But with hundreds of bodies still washing ashore every day, this number is expected to increase to likely between 10,000 to 20,000.
Emperor Akihito is deeply revered in Japan, and such a televised speech is likely to mean much to the Japanese people.
French BFM TV Report:
Japan – The Island Empire 1932:
Hiroshima: Warning To The World – Japan:
As Japan fights to avoid nuclear meltdown there can be no people more worried. Japanese have a built in terror of radiation. And the images of destruction following the WW11 nuclear attack echo terribly the mayhem caused by today’s earthquake.
“There was no city left. There was just dust”, says Wilfred Burchett, the first Western journalist to see the devastation wrought by the atomic bomb. Shocking archive footage echoes the scenes shown worldwide of the ruin wrought by the tsunami; rubble, collapsed buildings, empty spaces. Victims of the blast suffering from radiation exposure are a tragic warning of the dangers if the situation at Fukushima Nuclear Plant is not contained.
HIM Akihito became Emperor of Japan in 1989 upon the death of his father Emperor Hirohito (Showa). His wife then became Empress Michiko, whom he had married in 1959. The couple have three children; Crown Prince Naruhito, Prince Fumihito and the former Princess Sayako (she gave up her title and left the Imperial Family when she married as required by law). According to tradition HIM is the 125th Emperor of Japan all from the Yamato dynasty; the oldest monarchy in the world.