Japan’s Emperor Visits Borobudur Temple in Indonesia

Pool photo / The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Emperor arrives at the Sabo Technology Center in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday.

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia — The Emperor went to the Borobudur temple on central Java Island on Thursday morning.

The temple is believed to have been built in the eighth to ninth centuries, and is one of the world’s largest Buddhist temples. The compound was designated as a World Cultural Heritage site in 1991.

Wearing a long-sleeved shirt made of Indonesia’s traditional batik fabric, the Emperor viewed reliefs and Buddha statues at the temple, taking photos with a digital camera.

The Emperor Emeritus and the Empress Emerita visited the temple when they were Emperor and Empress in October 1991.

Pool photo / The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Emperor looks at reliefs at the Borobudur temple compound in Indonesia on Thursday.

Erosion control center

On Wednesday, the Emperor flew from Jakarta to Yogyakarta and visited the Sabo Technical Center, a volcanic erosion control technology center established with support from Japan.

The visit was part of the Emperor’s studies on water disaster prevention, which he regards as his life’s work.

Mt. Merapi, an active volcano near Yogyakarta, has caused mudslides with its eruptions, killing many people. Japan dispatched erosion control specialists to Indonesia from 1970 to 2014 to provide technical support.

“Sabo,” a Japanese word meaning erosion control, has even entered the Indonesian vocabulary.

The Emperor observed the center’s experiment facility and watched an experiment using a model of a town near Mt. Merapi. Water and sands were poured into a model river to examine the functionality of erosion control facilities, such as a dam.

Basuki Hadimuljono, the public works and housing minister, told the Emperor that the knowledge acquired at the experiment facility has proved useful in neighboring countries as well. The Emperor reportedly thanked him for introducing sabo to the world.

The Empress stayed in Jakarta for the sake of her health.

Pool photo / The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Emperor watches an experiment at the Sabo Technology Center in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday.