Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko talk to fishing industry workers at a wholesale market in the Haragama district of Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, on June 11.
June 12, 2018
FUKUSHIMA–Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on June 11 closed out their last trip to this disaster-stricken prefecture ahead of next year’s abdication.
Even though Michiko was under the weather for some of the time, the couple honored all their commitments during the three-day visit, Imperial Household Agency officials said.
Michiko suffered a fever during the night of June 10 as the journey from Tokyo to northeastern Japan tired her out.
In the morning of June 11, her temperature was 38.1 degrees, but not wanting to let anyone down, she performed all duties as scheduled.
Michiko’s fever gradually receded while cool weather and rain continued throughout the day.
Although the main event in the imperial couple’s diary was to attend an annual national tree-planting festival, visits to areas damaged in the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami were also on the program for all three days. Large crowds turned out to welcome them.
The couple’s car took them from Koriyama to Iwaki and Minami-Soma in the prefecture, covering about 280 kilometers over the three days.
After offering white chrysanthemums at a cenotaph in the Haragama district of Soma to commemorate victims, the emperor and empress watched workers sort greenlings at the local wholesale fish market.
Market activities were suspended after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant seven years ago. The market has been revived on a trial basis while checks on radiation levels continue.
The imperial couple, concerned about the economic losses the market had sustained due to lingering concerns about radiation, bought flatfish and Sakhalin surf clams caught off Soma, according to the agency.