The Emperor and Empress visited a village in Fukushima Prefecture on Saturday to meet residents unable to return to their homes due to radiation from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The imperial couple met and spoke with people living in temporary housing in Kawauchi Village. Nearly 100 people, some of them elderly, have returned to the village but are living in the temporary housing because their homes are within 20 kilometers of the plant.
The Emperor offered words of surprise and sympathy upon hearing from an 85-year-old woman that she had lived in 10 places outside the village since the nuclear accident in March of last year.
The Empress spoke to an 89-year-old woman and told her to take good care of herself. The Empress said she is glad the woman survived the disaster.
Earlier in the day, the imperial couple visited an elementary school in Kawauchi Village that reopened this April. They listened to an explanation from the mayor about the reconstruction process.
They then walked to a nearby area where work to remove radioactive materials began last month. They watched workers using high-pressure water sprays to clean the materials from roofs.
Only a quarter of Kawauchi's population of 3,000 has returned, despite the village office's plea for its residents to come back.
The number of people who committed suicide in Japan in 2012 was 27,858, dropping below 30,000 for the first time in 15 years, the Cabinet Office said in a white paper on Tuesday. The figure was 2,800 fewer than in 2011. (Japan Today )
A collection of materials related to a 17th century mission sent by a Japanese feudal lord to Europe and the world's oldest autographic diary left 10 centuries ago by a Japanese regent have been selected for the UNESCO Memory of the World registry, the Japanese education ministry said Wednesday. (Global Post )
Almost 1,500 people were transported to hospitals by ambulance due to heatstroke last week, up sharply from 942 in the preceding week, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Tuesday. (Japan Times )
Among about 200,000 traffic signals nationwide, 16 percent are being used beyond the end of the expected lifetime of their electrical systems and some have even toppled over due to age, according to the National Police Agency. (Yomiuri )
In May, Akira Ikoma, the editor of a guide to men's entertainment called Ore no Tabi (My Journey), said that "Abenomics" had caused a spike in prices at high-end soapland bathhouses in Tokyo. However, the same editor tells Shukan Post (June 28) that the initiative is not impacting the low-end market in the same way. (Tokyo Reporter )