All through his reign, Emperor Akihito has maintained his desire and need to visit all parts of Japan to help totally achieve the maximum in his role as Head of State, that desire has not dimmed despite him indicating a wish to abdicate.
It has been announced by sources affiliated to the Imperial Household Agency, that the Emperor, together with Empress Michiko with visit the flood ravaged prefectures of Fukuoka and Oita, by going a day earlier than planned to Fukuoka where they were already planning a three day visit to attend an annual ceremony for maritime resource conservation from 28 October.
The area around Fukuoka and Oita was hit by heavy rain in early July, and sources have said that both the Emperor and Empress were deeply concerned by news of the damage caused. The Emperor has said in a recently broadcast video message that it is necessary for him to have a “deep understanding of the people” in order for him to fulfil his role. This knowledge will come to the fore, as the pair meet survivors of the devastating storms to offer encouragement to them as they strive to rebuild their lives. Together with, of course, offering their deepest sympathy for what has befallen them.
In addition to this visit, it is understood that the Royal couple will also make a private visit to the small islands in Kagoshima Prefecture. According to sources, it is believed arrangements are in hand that would take them to Yaku Island and the Amami group of islands. This is again in line with comments made in the video message where the Emperor expressed a wish to visit more of Japans outlying islands, neither the Emperor or Empress have visited Okinoerabu and Yoron which are within the Amami chain.
In line with their visit to the areas hit by heavy storms, it is understood that within this visit the Royal pair will be visiting Kuchinoerabu Island which was affected by a volcanic eruption a couple of years ago. They will meet those citizens who were affected by the eruption. Royal Central will endeavour to bring news of both of these visits.