Centenarian couple hope to return home

AIZU-WAKAMATSU, Fukushima - In a country where people enjoy one of the longest life expectancies in the world, many Japanese couples still live harmoniously even after they both become centenarians.

Makoto and Tsuru Yoshida had to leave their home in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, due to the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.

Makoto turned 100 in April at their temporary home in Aizu-Wakamatsu in the prefecture.

Tsuru is 101, and the couple hope to return to their hometown as soon as possible.

Makoto's daily routine includes drinking a small bottle of sake with dinner and writing down the events of the day in a notebook.

He and Tsuru now live at a housing complex with their eldest son and his wife.

"I've come a long way," Makoto said. "I would like to thank everybody for everything they've done."

Makoto, who has experienced numerous hardships such as major earthquakes and war, smiled warmly while he uttered the words of gratitude during the interview.

As a primary school student, he moved to what is now Tokyo's Kita Ward from Okuma with his family and experienced the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923.

The sudden jolt occurred while he was playing with other children in the neighborhood.

He could barely stay on his feet.

From a nearby hill, he could see fires breaking out in various places, destroying Tokyo.

"People were fleeing with carts, and trains were overflowing with refugees," he recalls.

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