TOKYO – The Emperor and Empress of Japan have cancelled their summer retreat due to the catastrophic floods that have ravaged western Japan leaving more than 200 dead, the Imperial Household Agency announced on Friday.
Akihito and Michiko decided to cancel their almost 20-day stay at the Nasu Imperial Villa (in the central prefecture of Tochigi) following the natural disaster that started with record rainfall since July 5 in several Japanese prefectures.
The Agency said in a statement that the Emperor has expressed concern over the more than 6,000 people still being evacuated and living in shelters.
Torrential rains lashing central, south and western Japan have so far left more than 200 dead and about 100 missing, the search for whom is ongoing.
The record rainfall in the Japanese archipelago, which in several areas quadrupled in 11 days the total volume of rain that fell in all of July, caused floods and landslides, destroying thousands of houses and leaving several towns cut off.
Akihito, 84, had also been forced to suspend his public activities for several days earlier this month due to cerebrovascular dysfunction.