News On Japan

Japanese Imperial Couple Arrive in UK

LONDON, Jun 24 (News On Japan) - The Emperor and Empress of Japan have arrived in the UK for an official visit aimed at strengthening friendly relations. This marks the Emperor's first state visit to the UK in 26 years since 1998.

Their Majesties Arrive in the UK

Amid the attention of over 100 people lining the streets, the Emperor and Empress arrived at a central London hotel on the 22nd, chauffeured in a luxury Bentley sent by King Charles of the UK. This visit, aimed at promoting international goodwill, is the Emperor's first to the UK in 23 years.

A Swiss tourist commented, ‘It’s very interesting to see the Japanese Royal Family.’

Following a roughly 14-and-a-half-hour flight from Japan, Their Majesties arrived at an airport near London. The Emperor wore a light blue tie, while the Empress was dressed entirely in light blue, creating a coordinated look.

Official Friendship Visit to "Memorable Place"

For Their Majesties, the UK holds special memories from their youth. This visit carries particular significance for each of them.

The Emperor stated, ‘The UK is a place of memories from our respective student days, and we are looking forward to this visit.’

After graduating from Gakushuin University, the Emperor studied at the University of Oxford. Although at different times, the Empress also studied at Oxford during her time at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Empress later married the Emperor. During the Emperor's visit to the UK 23 years ago, she was unable to accompany him due to pregnancy. At that time, the Emperor, as Crown Prince, was invited by Queen Elizabeth II.

Queen Elizabeth remarked, ‘This is very precious,’ as she viewed ivory fans gifted by Japanese royalty.

To strengthen bilateral relations, the Emperor participated in the traditional Japanese dance "Awa Odori" with King Charles, who was then Prince of Wales.

The Emperor said in 2001, ‘I am coming alone this time, but I hope we can come together next time.’

While raising Princess Aiko, the Empress joined the Emperor on official trips to Oceania the following year, expressing her joy in visiting foreign countries.

The Empress said in December 2002, ‘I am truly grateful to be able to visit New Zealand and Australia.’

The Emperor added, ‘I hope that we can make more frequent joint visits abroad in the future.’

Now, as state guests, Their Majesties have arrived in the UK, a place full of memories. They will attend various official events, including a welcome ceremony and a banquet at Buckingham Palace, from the 25th to the 27th.

During their 6-night, 8-day stay, they are scheduled to visit the University of Oxford and stroll around the city on their final day, the 28th.

The Emperor reflected, ‘Masako is also grateful for the invitation from the UK. She looks forward to this visit, recalling her two years at the University of Oxford, and hopes that the long-standing friendship between Japan and the UK will continue to deepen.’

Related: Emperor and Empress Revisit Oxford: A Journey Back to Their Academic Roots

Source: ANN

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