Vietnam president could be the last state banquet guest for Japan’s retiring emperor
The 84-year-old emperor is expected to abdicate on April 30 next year – the first living monarch to do so in about 200 years
Visiting Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang met with Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on Wednesday, as the two countries mark the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties this year.
Quang could be the last state guest to a banquet hosted by the emperor at the Imperial Palace as the 84-year-old emperor is expected to abdicate on April 30 next year – the first living monarch to do so in about 200 years.
Emperor Akihito asked Quang during their meeting whether Vietnamese people in Japan are “living happily”, to which Quang responded many people were studying and working actively, according to the Imperial Household Agency.
“Such exchanges, I believe, are extremely important,” the emperor was quoted as saying.
A welcoming ceremony for Quang was held in the morning at the palace, attended by the imperial couple, Crown Prince Naruhito, who will take over as emperor from May 1 next year, his wife Crown Princess Masako, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other members of his Cabinet.
The visit by Quang, which started Tuesday, is a reciprocal move after the imperial couple visited Vietnam as state guests in February last year.
Quang is expected to meet with Abe and attend a ceremony in Tokyo celebrating the diplomatic anniversary before heading home on Saturday.