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Wednesday, 10th December 2014
In General Japan News,

Royal Family pays tribute to Hiroshima memorial

Japan's Imperial Family honoured the thousands of people who died in the detonation of the atomic bombs in 1945 on Thursday (December 4th), with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

The visit, ahead of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War next year, saw the Imperial couple lay white chrysanthemums in front of a cenotaph containing the names of the 292,325 victims of the world's first nuclear attack.

After paying tribute at the park, the pair went onto the Yano Orizuru-en nursing home, which was set up to house survivors of the catastrophe. They met and talked with a number of residents, as well as mayor of Hiroshima Kazumi Matsui.

"You have truly been through many days of hardship, and I deeply sympathise with you," the Emperor told 86-year-old Ayako Nagao, who travels between schools and imparts her experience of the tragedy to students.

"Next year marks 70 years [since the war ended], and I sincerely hope you will be able to greet the new year in good health."

Earlier this year, the Imperial couple visited the Okinawa Peace Hall in Itoman in the southern part of the prefecture, where they paid tribute to those who fell in the Battle of Okinawa, which took place during the final days of the war.

In October, they laid flowers at a cenotaph in Nagasaki. The last time they visited these destinations in addition to Hiroshima in a single year was in 1995, to commemorate half a century since the war's end.

Visitors keen to find out about Japan's wartime history have plenty of opportunity to do so during their time in the country, with a plethora of museums and other locations dedicated to preserving the past.