Emperor Akihito addresses Japan following earthquake
The earthquake off the coast of Japan is still causing damage as Japan fights to cool the Tokyo Electric Power plant from overheating. Last night, Greg Jaczko (chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission) said that attempts to cool the nuclear reactors seem to be failing, sending panic through Japan. The depth of the crisis was emphasized yesterday by a rare TV appearance by Emperor Akihito, who said he was "deeply concerned" by this tragedy. He continued, "I hope from the bottom of my heart that the people will, hand in hand, treat each other with compassion and overcome these difficult times." The Emperor is deeply revered by his people, though very rarely makes television appearances.
The Imperial Household Agency also released the following statement: "Please note that the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace is temporarily closed on Tuesday March 15, Wednesday March 16, and Thursday March 17 due to the Tohoku Pacific Earthquake on Friday March 11."
In his address, Emperor Akihito thanked the members of the Self-Defense Forces, the police, the fire department, and the Japanese Coast Guard, for working endlessly on relief activities. He also thanked overseas relief organizations for engaging in relief activity around the clock.
The Emperor's statement included the following comments:
I am praying that the safety of as many people as possible will be confirmed. My other grave concern now is the serious and unpredictable condition of the affected nuclear power plant. I earnestly hope that through the all-out efforts of all those concerned, further deterioration of the situation will be averted.
I would like to let you know how deeply touched I am by the courage of those victims who have survived this catastrophe and who, by bracing themselves, are demonstrating their determination to live on.
I have been receiving, by cable, messages of sympathy from the heads of state of countries around the world, and it was mentioned in many of those messages that the thoughts of the peoples of those countries are with the victims of the disaster. These messages I would like to convey to the people in the afflicted regions.
~ statement from the Imperial Household Agency
Emperor Akihito ended his message urging everyone to help share in the burden of rebuilding as much as possible, and expressed his hope that the people of Japan can pull together and support each other on the road to recovery.