Japanese Emperor and Empress to embark on three-day state visit to the UK


Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan are scheduled to visit the United Kingdom at the end of June for a three-day state visit as guests of King Charles III, Buckingham Palace

confirmed on Tuesday.

Arriving on June 22, the royal couple will initially engage in private activities for the first three days. The official state visit will commence on June 25 and conclude on June 27.

During this significant visit, the 64-year-old Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will meet with King Charles, Queen Camilla, the Prince of Wales, Prince William, and other members of the British royal family. This marks the first Japanese state visit to the UK in over two decades.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson mentioned that the visit's schedule has been "slightly adapted" due to the upcoming general election on July 4, although specific details were not disclosed.

Traditionally, visiting heads of state engage in discussions with the prime minister and opposition leaders or address parliament. However, with parliament dissolved and a pre-election period in place, these usual activities will be restricted.

Despite these limitations, the itinerary remains full, featuring a Guard of Honour ceremony, a carriage procession at Buckingham Palace, and visits to notable locations such as museums and the Francis Crick Institute, a prominent biomedical research center in London.

On June 25, a state banquet hosted by King Charles at Buckingham Palace will honor the Japanese royals, with both monarchs expected to deliver speeches.

The Emperor will also visit Windsor Castle on the final day of the state visit to lay a wreath at the tomb of Queen Elizabeth II. The Emperor and Empress last visited the UK in September 2022 to attend her state funeral.

A Rare State Visit

State visits by the Japanese royal family are infrequent, and this visit signifies a gradual resumption of their international engagements following the COVID-19 pandemic. This marks Emperor Naruhito's second official state visit since ascending the throne in 2019, following a trip to Indonesia last year.

During Queen Elizabeth II's reign, two Japanese state visits were hosted: Emperor Hirohito in 1971 and Emperor Akihito, Naruhito's father, in 1998.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida emphasized the deep-rooted relationship between the two royal families, expressing confidence that the visit will strengthen the friendship and goodwill between Japan and the UK.

State visits are known for their ceremonial grandeur and often include meetings with industry and commerce leaders to bolster cultural, diplomatic, and economic ties.

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

Notably absent from this visit will be Catherine, Princess of Wales, who is undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer. Her last public appearance was in December last year. Additionally, King Charles himself recently resumed public engagements after announcing his own cancer diagnosis in February.

The Japanese Emperor and Empress are scheduled to visit Oxford for private engagements on June 28, before departing the UK. Photo by 在サンパウロ日本国総領事館, Wikimedia commons.

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