Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako’s UK state visit to be hosted by King Charles III

Japan's Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako's UK state visit to be hosted by King Charles III
Japan's Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako's UK state visit to be hosted by King Charles III

Africa-Press – Nigeria. Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will visit Britain at the end of June, spending three days as guests of King Charles III, Buckingham Palace confirmed on Tuesday.

The royal couple is due to arrive on 22 June, but will spend the first three days in private engagements before beginning the official state visit, which will run from 25 to 27 June.

Naruhito, 64, will meet Charles and his wife Queen Camilla as well as the monarch’s elder son and heir Prince William and other British royals in the first Japanese state visit to the UK in more than two decades.

A palace spokesman said the programme had been “slightly adapted” because of the upcoming general election on 4 July, without going into exact details.

Visiting heads of state have typically held talks with the prime minister and opposition leader, or addressed lawmakers in parliament.

But parliament has been dissolved and there are no MPs, while the government – both ministers and civil servants – are in the pre-election period, with restrictions on what they can do.

The packed schedule does include a Guard of Honour ceremony, a carriage procession at Buckingham Palace, visits to museums and to the Francis Crick Institute, a biomedical research centre in London.

On 25 June, a state banquet will be given by the king at Buckingham Palace in honour of the emperor and empress, with speeches made by the two male monarchs.

The emperor will also go to Windsor Castle west of London on the third day of the state visit to lay a wreath on the tomb of Queen Elizabeth II, whose state funeral he and the empress attended in September 2022 in their last visit to the UK.

Rare state visit

The Japanese royal couple seldom go on state visits and are gradually making more trips after limiting them during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This will be the emperor’s second official state visit since his accession to the throne in 2019, following a visit to Indonesia last year.

The late queen, who had been on the throne since 1952, had hosted two Japanese state visits during her reign: emperor Hirohito in 1971 and his eldest son emperor Akihito – Naruhito’s father – in 1998.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday said the royal families shared a “traditional intimate relationship”.

“I am convinced that the visit will reconfirm the friendship and goodwill of both countries… and I feel immense pleasure together with the people of Japan,” he said in a statement.

State visits generally feature traditional ceremony and pomp as well as visits to industry and commerce leaders to cement cultural, diplomatic and economic relations.

So far, Charles, 75, has received two state visits, by the presidents of South Africa in 2022 and South Korea last year.

Notably absent this time will be William’s wife, Catherine, Princess of Wales.

She is receiving chemotherapy treatment for cancer and was last seen at a public engagement in December last year.

Charles also announced that he had cancer, without specifying which type, in February this year, and has only recently resumed public engagements.

On 28 June, the Japanese emperor and empress will visit Oxford, where they studied, for private engagements, before leaving the UK.

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