Japan Emperor, Empress to Visit Britain in June

The Imperial Household Agency

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako are making preparations to visit Britain as state guests in late June, the Imperial Household Agency said Saturday.

It will be the first trip to Britain by the Imperial couple since they attended the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in 2022.

The upcoming visit will be the second full overseas visit by the couple since the Emperor’s accession to the throne in 2019, after their trip to Indonesia last year.

The Emperor and the Empress were slated to visit Britain in 2020 at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II, but that was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, King Charles III invited the couple again to Britain, according to the agency.

During the upcoming one-week visit, the Emperor and the Empress are set to attend a welcoming event and banquet at Buckingham Palace, people familiar with the matter said. They are also expected to visit the University of Oxford, where they studied, and inspect River Thames transportation, which the Emperor has researched.

The Japanese Imperial Family and the British Royal Family have a close relationship. When Emperor Emeritus Akihito, father of the current Emperor, was Crown Prince, he attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of then Emperor Hirohito, father of the Emperor Emeritus and posthumously known as Emperor Showa.

Emperor Showa and his wife, Empress Kojun, visited Britain as state guests in 1971, while the Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita Michiko were invited to Britain as state guests in 1998.

When King Charles III was Prince of Wales, he attended the accession ceremonies for the Emperor Emeritus and the current Emperor.

The upcoming trip by Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will be the third state visit to Britain since the coronation of the king, after state guests from South Africa and South Korea.