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Imperial Couple visits western Japan prefectures ravaged by torrential rains

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko arrive at Matsuyama Airport in the city of Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, on Sept. 21, 2018 for a trip to console victims of torrential rains that devastated western Japan in July. (Mainichi/Kazuki Yamazaki)

MATSUYAMA, Ehime -- Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko arrived at Matsuyama Airport here on Sept. 21 for a visit to the western Japan prefectures of Hiroshima and Ehime to console victims of torrential rains that devastated the region in July.

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko meet Ehime Gov. Tokihiro Nakamura at Matsuyama Airport in the city of Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, on Sept. 21, 2018. (Mainichi/Kazuki Yamazaki)

According to the Imperial Household Agency, the Emperor and Empress will board a Self-Defense Forces (SDF) helicopter to visit temporary housing in the cities of Seiyo, Ehime Prefecture, where rivers overflowed, and Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, where homes were hit by deadly landslides. The Imperial Couple are set to meet those affected by the disaster, and praise firefighters and police officers involved in rescue efforts.

The agency had planned the visit to Ehime and Hiroshima prefectures to start on Sept. 20, but the SDF helicopter journey could not go ahead that day due to bad weather, forcing a postponement.

(Japanese original by Hiroyuki Takashima, City News Department)

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