Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japan's emperor in historic speech: 'Never give up hope'



Japan's beloved emperor dramatically took to the national TV airwaves Wednesday and buoyed the spirits of his disaster-stricken citizens, an extraordinary address before a nation grappling with the aftermath of an epic earthquake and a devastating tsunami and growing fears of a nuclear catastrophe.

"I truly hope the victims of the disaster never give up hope, take care of themselves, and live strong for tomorrow," said the dignified and understated Emperor Akihito, a calm and poignant oration delivered from the Imperial Palace.

"Also, I want all citizens of Japan to remember everyone who has been affected by the devastation, not only today but for a long time afterwards -- and help with the recovery."

An address by a sitting emperor is usually reserved for times of extreme crisis or war. Emperor Akihito's direct appeal to the public is considered exceptional in Japan and marks the first time that the emperor has spoken to the public after such a crisis. (read more)