Imperial couple starts trip to remote islands
NHK -- Nov 17
Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have begun a three-day trip to remote islands in southwestern Japan.

The imperial couple arrived on Thursday on Yakushima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture on their first stop. They were welcomed by crowds of local residents.

The Emperor and Empress also met people from Kuchino-erabu-jima Island. The island residents were forced to evacuate their homes following a violent volcanic eruption of Mount Shindake in 2015. All of the islanders evacuated to Yakushima Island -- about 12 kilometers away.

A 71-year-old man told the imperial couple that he helped his neighbors flee their island. A 74-year-old woman who raises livestock described how she has lived after returning to her home island.

The Emperor and Empress listened to their stories earnestly as they have been concerned about the evacuees following the eruption.

The imperial couple appreciated the hardships that evacuees had gone through.

The Emperor shared his wishes for their well-being and good health.

The couple also met elementary and junior high school students who held a banner reading that they are doing well despite the eruption.

Then, the Emperor and Empress flew to Okino-erabu-jima island, about 380 kilometers from Yakushima and will stay overnight there.

On Friday, they will travel to Yoronjima, the southernmost island of Kagoshima Prefecture.

News source: NHK
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