Emperor and Empress make first visit to Okinawa since enthronement

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Emperor and Empress departing for Okinawa at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on Saturday.

The Emperor and Empress visited Okinawa Saturday to attend the opening ceremony of the 37th National Cultural Festival and the 22nd National Art and Cultural Festival for Persons with Disabilities. They departed from Haneda Airport in Tokyo for Okinawa Prefecture on a special plane.

This is the first visit to Okinawa by the Emperor and Empress, for the first time since the accession to the throne. Before that, the Emperor visited Okinawa in July 2010, while the Empress did in July 1997. This will be the first time in three years that they make a visit with an overnight stay, due to the COVID pandemic.

The visit will last two days, and on Oct. 23, the Emperor will attend the opening ceremony of the festival to be held in Ginowan City, where the he will deliver a speech. On Oct. 22, he is also scheduled to meet with officials involved in the ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the return of Okinawa to Japan, which was held in May.