- Title: JAPAN: Sombre emperor makes unprecedented address to nation
- Date: 17th March 2011
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (MARCH 16, 2011) (REUTERS) SCREENS SHOWING SPEECH
- Embargoed: 1st April 2011 13:00
- Location: Japan, Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA49CRW6LBULK05DQZX38RUEPJ6
- Story Text: Japanese Emperor Akihito made an unprecedented televised address to his disaster-stricken nation on Wednesday (March 16), saying he was "deeply worried" by the crisis at damaged nuclear reactors and urging people to help each in difficult times.
Looking sombre and stoic, the 77-year-old Akihito said the problems at Japan's nuclear-power reactors, where authorities were battling to prevent a nuclear catastrophe, were unpredictable and that he was deeply worried.
"The 9.0 Magnitude earthquake which hit the Tohoku-Pacific region was an unprecedented, large earthquake. I am deeply pained by the news of the affected areas," he said. "And now, the situation of the nuclear plant is one in which we must be vigilant about. I hope that through the efforts of the people involved, a worsening of the situation can be avoided."
Major TV stations interrupted normal programming for what was the emperor's first public appearance since last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands of people.
"Those who were affected by the earthquake, they must not lose hope and look after their health and survive tomorrow onwards. Each and every Japanese citizen will keep thinking of those who have been affected and continue to oversee the rebuilding process of the affected regions," he said.
Akihito and Empress Michiko have long played a role comforting the public in tough times, visiting the survivors of the massive quake that killed 6,400 people in the western port of Kobe in 1995.
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