Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attend tsunami memorial

March 12, 2012

The presence of the emperor was likely to have provided a much-needed boost for the nation, following earlier concerns that the 78-year-old might not be well enough to attend due to his slow recovery following recent heart surgery.

Five days after the earthquake struck last year, the emperor made an unprecedented television address to the nation before later travelling more than 6,000 miles with his wife visiting evacuation shelters and meeting with victims.

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