Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako have suspended a plan to meet with survivors of the 2011 quake-tsunami disaster online following Saturday's powerful earthquake, the Imperial Household Agency said Monday.

Ahead of the 10th anniversary of the March 11 disaster, which triggered a nuclear crisis, the imperial couple had planned to meet with residents of Fukushima Prefecture online on Tuesday as the coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for them to visit northeastern Japan.

Meetings via video conference with residents of Iwate and Miyagi prefectures had also been scheduled by the end of March.

The imperial couple suspended the event in consideration of damage inflicted by the recent quake, wishing authorities to concentrate on recovery activities, according to the agency, which has not determined a new schedule for the event yet.

The magnitude 7.3 temblor that struck at 11:07 p.m. Saturday, registering upper 6 on Japan's seismic intensity scale of 7 in parts of Fukushima and Miyagi, injured more than 150 people and cut power and water in some areas of the country.

East Japan Railway Co. has suspended a section of the Tohoku shinkansen bullet train line since Sunday due to damage sustained by the railway systems, predicting it will take about 10 days to resume full operations.

The emperor and empress, who had visited the region as crown prince and crown princess since the March 11 disaster, were expected to pray for victims and offer words of encouragement to the survivors.

In January, the couple held a videoconference meeting with survivors of a heavy rain and flood disaster that devastated Kumamoto Prefecture last July to offer encouragement.

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