The Imperial couple’s visit to Kumamoto Prefecture

© The Yomiuri Shimbun

On May 19, about a month after a series of powerful earthquakes hit Kumamoto Prefecture and nearby areas, the Emperor and Empress visited the quake-hit region.

After inspecting from a helicopter the situation in Minami-Aso, a village severely damaged by the earthquakes, the couple visited two evacuation centers where they knelt down and spoke to people staying there.

The Emperor and Empress are welcomed by evacuees in Minami-Aso at about 1:35 p.m.

The Empress speaks to people staying in Minami-Aso Middle School’s gymnasium, which was used as an evacuation center.

The Emperor speaks to evacuees in Minami-Aso Middle School’s gymnasium.

The Emperor helps the Empress get off a minibus in Minami-Aso.

Local children climb a fence to see off a helicopter carrying the Imperial couple in Mashiki at about 5:20 p.m.

The couple wave from the helicopter as they leave Mashiki after finishing their visit to the quake-hit areas.

The couple arrive back at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport at about 8:20 p.m.

A pin badge depicting Kumamoto Prefecture mascot Kumamon can be seen on the Empress’ jacket.

© The Yomiuri Shimbun