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Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and his wife Empress Masako at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. File photo: Imperial Household Agency of Japan via AP

Japan’s Naruhito plans to attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral in first foreign trip as emperor

  • Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is also considering attending the memorial service that will be held in a little over a week
  • Naruhito was invited to Britain by the queen in 2020, but the visit was postponed due to the pandemic
Japan’s Emperor Naruhito plans to attend the funeral of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, while Prime Minister Fumio Kishida may also attend, Japanese media said.

It would be Naruhito’s first overseas trip since acceding to the throne in May 2019. Empress Masako has also expressed a wish to attend, and the Japanese government is arranging their trip, NTV, TBS and other media said on Friday, citing government sources.

Kishida is considering attending the funeral, which Britain says will be held in a little over a week, before visiting New York for the United Nations General Assembly late in the month, TV Asahi reported on Saturday. US President Joe Biden has said he will attend the funeral of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.

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The Prime Minister’s Office and Imperial Household Agency could not immediately be reached outside business hours for comment on the reports.

The British royals and Japan’s imperial family have long-standing ties. The emperor had been invited to Britain by the queen in 2020, but the trip was postponed due to the pandemic.

Queen Elizabeth, who visited Japan in 1975 to meet then-Emperor Hirohito, made a “great contribution” towards strengthening Tokyo’s ties with London, Kishida said on Friday.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth toasting with Japanese Emperor Hirohito (right) during a state banquet in Tokyo in 1975. File photo: Kyodo

Also offering condolences, Naruhito, who studied at Oxford University in the 1980s, was “deeply saddened” by the queen’s death, the Imperial Household Agency said. Masako also studied at Oxford.


The emperor and empress went into three days of mourning on Friday as they were feeling “deep grief and heartfelt condolences”, the agency announced.

It is rare for a Japanese emperor to attend a royal funeral overseas. In 1993, then-Emperor Akihito, now emperor emeritus, attended the state funeral of King Baudouin of Belgium with then-Empress Michiko.