Japan’s royals arrive for state visit to UK

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Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako arrived in Britain on Saturday for a three-day state visit hosted by King Charles III.

A special flight from Japan landed at London’s Stansted airport. The royal couple are to spend Sunday and Monday at private engagements before the official program begins on Tuesday.

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The highlight will be a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, with all eyes on a possible appearance by heir to the throne Prince William’s wife Catherine, rarely seen in recent months due to cancer treatment.

Naruhito, 64, will also go to Windsor Castle, west of London, to lay a wreath on the tomb of Queen Elizabeth II, whose state funeral he and the empress, 60, attended in September 2022.

With Britain in the midst of a general election campaign, it was not immediately clear if there would be a meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Visiting heads of state typically hold talks with the premier and opposition leader, or address lawmakers in parliament. But parliament has been dissolved before the July 4 vote.

The trip will be the emperor’s second official state visit since his accession to the throne in 2019, following a visit to Indonesia last year.

For Charles, 75, it will be the third state visit he has hosted since he became king following the death of his mother.

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