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Enthusiastic scenes as British royals touch down in the Far East

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Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall could not have wished for a warmer welcome as they kicked off a ten-day Asian tour in Japan. Students at Tokyo's Keio University were beside themselves with excitement, holding out their hands in the hope of a royal handshake and snapping photos of the couple on mobile phones and cameras.

Earlier in the day, at the city's Haneda airport, the red carpet was rolled out as Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan received the British royals.

The heir to the Chrysanthemum throne was not accompanied by his wife Masako, who has largely stayed out of the public spotlight since her diagnosis with a nervous illness.

An imperial reception is planned, however, as Naruhito's parents, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, have invited Charles and his wife to dinner.

The five-day visit – the Prince's third – also includes an expedition to Nara, an ancient city in the west of the country where some of Japan's most famous Buddhist temples are located, as well as to the central mountain town of Nagano.

Charles will then travel to Brunei and Indonesia, while the Duchess returns to the UK after the Brunei leg of the trip, thus avoiding the stifling heat in Jakarta.

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Their own royal family are highly revered but quite distanced from the ordinary people, which perhaps explained why these Tokyo students could hardly contain their enthusiasm when Prince Charles and Camilla arrived in the Japanese capital as part of a tour celebrating 150 years of diplomatic ties between the two countriesPhoto: © PA
Photo: ©
The Prince of Wales acknowledges young well-wishers outside the National Museum of Science and Innovation, where he was about to call for "nothing less than an urgent, full-scale transformation to a low-carbon society" Photo: © Getty Images