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Japan’s monarch to attend British queen’s funeral

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EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - Crowds of public gather for the Queen’s funeral cortege proceeding down The Royal Mile towards Holyroodhouse on September 11, 2022 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Raşid Necati Aslım - Anadolu Agency)
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Sep 14, 2022 - 11:55 AM

ISTANBUL (AA) – Japan’s monarch will attend the state funeral of late British Queen Elizabeth II, the imperial family in Tokyo confirmed on Wednesday.

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will participate in the funeral set for next week, Sept. 19, Japan’s Imperial Household Agency said.

It will be their first trip overseas since ascending the throne in 2019.

The late queen visited Japan in 1975.

Imperial Household Agency said the British government had extended two invitations for the funeral.

It is rare for Japan’s monarch to attend a funeral overseas.

Last time, then Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko attended the state funeral of Belgium’s King Baudouin in 1993.

Hirokazu Matsuno, the Japanese top government spokesman, also confirmed the development saying: “During Queen Elizabeth’s 70-year reign, the British royal family and the Japanese imperial family have maintained friendly relations for three generations.”

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will lead a delegation to New York to attend the UN General Assembly, according to Tokyo-based Kyodo News.

Japanese imperial family observed three-day mourning last week after the queen’s passing.

Akihito, then a crown prince, had attended Queen Elizabeth II’s 1953 coronation in London on behalf of Emperor Hirohito, who is now known as Emperor Showa.

The two royal families maintain close ties. The late queen extended an invitation to Naruhito after his ascension which did not materialize because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Expressing “heartfelt sorrow and deep sadness,” Naruhito said last Friday: “From my heart, I declare my gratitude and esteem for her many achievements and contributions.”

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