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Japanese royals Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko arrive in the Philippines for state visit

27 January 2016
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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko arrived in the Philippines on Tuesday, as theyembarked on a four-day visit to the Southeast Asian country. The Japanese royals, who touched down in Manila at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, weregreeted by Philippine President Benigno Aquino and other government officialson the tarmac as they dismounted the plane.

Before theroyals left to begin their visit, they were given a royal send off by theirsons and other family members. Crown Prince Naruhito was joined by his brotherPrince Akishino and their wives, Crown Princess Masako and Princess Kiko towave goodbye to the pair, as they left for their first ever official visit to the country.


The couple were waved off by their family, as they left Tokyo Photo: Getty Images

Theinvitation for the Emperor and his wife to visit the country comesafter the Philippine president visited Tokyo in June last year. This year, the two countries are marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations after World War II came to an end.

Before departingTokyo, the 82-year-old head of state said of the visit, which will include paying tribute to those killed during WW II: “Many Filipinos, American andJapanese lost their lives in the Philippines during the war. Especially in thebattle in Manila, a tremendously large number of innocent Filipino civilianswere victims. Upon making this visit, we need to bear this is mind at alltimes.”


The couple were greeted at Manila airport by the president of the Philippines Photo: Getty Images

OnWednesday morning the couple were met by a welcoming ceremony atMalacañang Palace, before visiting a cemetery for Filipino war victims to layflowers in the afternoon. On Thursday they will meet with people ofJapanese descent who live on the Philippine islands.

Duringtheir final day, Friday, they will travel by helicopter to Caliraya, to layflowers at a monument installed by the Japanese government to pay tribute tothose that died in WWII. The Emperor and Empress will return to Tokyo the next day.

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