Japan’s imperial couple to visit India

Tokyo/New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will visit India, probably around autumn, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries, media reports said.

The imperial couple has been invited by the Indian government.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga made the announcement, the media reports.

According to Japan’s Imperial Household Agency, Akihito will be the first Japanese emperor to visit India.

The emperor visited India once before when he was crown prince, NHK reported.

The dates and duration of the visit have yet to be determined as the Imperial Household Agency is paying careful consideration to the health of the 79-year-old emperor, who underwent coronary artery bypass surgery in February 2012, and of the empress, who is a year younger.

The agency is planning to schedule the visit around the autumn, when the climate in New Delhi is relatively comfortable.

The imperial couple had visited Britain last May to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also slated to visit Japan.

The details of the visit are being worked out, an Indian government official said in New Delhi.

“We have reiterated that invitation this year again, we are grateful that they are considering a visit here. Once the details are tied up we will certainly inform you,” the external affairs ministry spokesperson said.

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