Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have arrived in the Philippines for a 5-day visit. They are due to pay tribute to the war-dead during their stay.
A plane carrying the Imperial couple arrived at Manila International Airport on Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier, a departure event was held at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Crown Prince Naruhito and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended.
Abe said the visit will be a deeply significant one for Japan’s friendly relations with the Philippines. The two countries normalized ties 60 years ago.
The Imperial couple last paid a visit to the country 54 years ago when they were Crown Prince and Princess. The Emperor said it is deeply touching to visit again.
The Emperor said many Filipino, American and Japanese lives were lost in the Philippines during World War Two. He noted in particular the countless deaths of innocent Filipino civilians during fierce fighting in Manila.
The Emperor said he and the Empress will always bear this in mind during their visit.
The couple will be welcomed as state guests with a ceremony and banquet on Wednesday.
On Friday, they are due to pay their first visit to a monument for the Japanese war-dead in the outskirts of Manila. The monument was set up by Japan’s government.
The Emperor and Empress also plan to visit a cemetery dedicated to Filipino victims of the war. They are due to return to Tokyo on Saturday.
Source and image: NHK