Japanese emperor says he is deeply worried over crisis

Japanese Emperor Akihito said he was "deeply worried" about the crisis.

Updated: Mar 16, 2011, 21:57 PM IST

Tokyo: Japanese Emperor Akihito Wednesday made a rare TV appearance in which he said he was "deeply worried" about the crisis facing his country devastated by a giant tsunami following a massive earthquake.

The 77-year-old Japanese emperor went live on TV to make his first public comments on the disaster, under which Japan has been reeling since March 11. He said he was "deeply worried" and added he was praying for the people, BBC reported.

The emperor`s speech came as technicians were forced to leave a reactor in the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant where explosions have taken place in three reactors since Friday.

An earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale rocked Japan Friday, spawning a huge tsunami that slammed its coast and caused considerable damage over large swathes of land.

The official toll is over 3,600, but estimates are that the deaths may cross 10,000.

BBC said TV stations interrupted programming to show the emperor describing the natural disaster as "unprecedented in scale".

Akihito acceded to the throne in 1989 after the death of his father Emperor Hirohito.

The emperor said: "I hope from the bottom of my heart that the people will, hand in hand, treat each other with compassion and overcome these difficult times."