Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will stay at Windsor Castle, the palace said
Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako have planned their first overseas trip since he acceded to the throne in May of last year: a visit to see the royal family in Britain.
On Tuesday, Buckingham Palace announced that the Emperor and Empress of Japan accepted an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to see the United Kingdom.
The state visit will be planned for spring 2020. Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will stay at Windsor Castle, the palace said. Further details about the Emperor and Empress’ state visit program will be announced at a later time.
Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief government spokesman, told reporters that the visit is being scheduled for between April and June, Reuters reported.
“The relationship between our country’s imperial family and Britain’s royal family has played an important role in fostering strong ties between both of our countries,” Suga said. “In line with this spirit, the emperor and the empress have received an invitation to visit.”
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Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako — who rarely make overseas trips together, due to her recovery from a stress-induced illness — both studied at Oxford in the past, Naruhito researching the history of river transport and Masako studying international relations, Reuters reported.
The Queen has hosted two previous state visits from Japan.
Back in May 1998, the Queen hosted Naruhito’s father Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko in the U.K. Before that, in October 1971, Emperor Showa (Hirohito) and Empress Kojun (Nagako) were guests of the Queen.
Emperor Emeritus Akihito also stopped by to see the Queen at Buckingham Palace in May 2007, during a three-day visit with Empress Emerita Michiko to the U.K., and in May 2012, for a luncheon for Sovereign Monarchs at Windsor Castle to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
The Queen and Prince Phillip have made just one state visit to Japan: in May 1975.
Back in May, Emperor Naruhito ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne following his father’s abdication. Emperor Emeritus Akihito had announced his plan to step down due to health reasons in December 2017, marking the country’s first abdication in 200 years.
In Japanese culture, Emperor Naruhito’s reign marks the start of a new historical period, the Reiwa (or “beautiful harmony”) era.
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