Imperial couple visits quake-hit communities

Japan's Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako have visited areas of Ishikawa Prefecture hit hard by the Noto Peninsula earthquake.

The disaster on New year's Day claimed over 100 lives in Wajima and triggered a massive fire in the city's famed morning market. The Imperial couple bowed to express their condolences.

They also visited a facility housing scores of evacuees, and spoke with people involved in the disaster response effort.

The Emperor and Empress later visited Suzu, where more than 100 people died. Wide areas of the city were inundated by tsunami.

The Imperial couple were seen at a junior high school currently housing about 80 evacuees.

One evacuee described feeling overwhelmed when he saw the Emperor and Empress, adding that their visit made him feel optimistic about the future.