Japan’s Emperor is set to attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral

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Japan’s Emperor Naruhito is expected to attend Queen Elizabeth’s state funeral, local media reported on Saturday

Kazuhiro NOGI

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Japan’s Emperor Naruhito is expected to attend Queen Elizabeth’s state funeral, local media reported on Saturday.

If confirmed, it will be his first trip abroad since ascending the Chrysanthemum Throne in 2019 following his father’s abdication.

Naruhito was supposed to travel to Britain for his first overseas trip after the climb, but it was postponed due to the pandemic.

Public broadcaster NHK reported on Saturday that the Imperial Household Agency and the Japanese government were making arrangements, citing unnamed sources.

The two were not immediately available to confirm the information.

The Mainichi Shimbun daily noted that this is a rare response, as the emperor does not usually attend funerals in Japan and overseas, unlike other members of the royal family.

Empress Masako will also attend if her condition permits, according to reports.

Local media cited close ties between Japanese and British royals as reasons for Naruhito’s possible presence.

Naruhito’s father, Akihito, attended the Queen’s coronation in 1953 as Crown Prince in place of Emperor Hirohito.

In 1975, the Queen made the first visit to Japan by a British monarch and met Hirohito.

In a statement released after his death, Naruhito praised his “many achievements and contributions”, saying he felt “deep sadness”.

The 62-year-old emperor, who studied at Oxford University, thanked her for “the many considerations she gave me during my studies and my visits to the United Kingdom”.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is also reportedly considering attending the funeral.

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