Emperor visits disaster zone

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Japan’s emperor and empress visited the earthquake and tsunami disaster zone which destroyed a large swathe of the country’s north-east coast.

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited two evacuation shelters in Asahi city, about 54 miles east of Tokyo near the Pacific coast. The visit was the emperor’s first since the disaster happened on March 11 this year.

The royals spoke privately with evacuees, who showed deep respect by bowing deeply. Some were unable to control their emotions and openly cried.

In total there were 13 deaths, and around 3,000 houses were damaged or destroyed in the city. Further royal visits to other tsunami-affected areas are planned for the coming weeks.