Japan Emperor Naruhito to pay state visit to Britain
AFP, , Tuesday 14 Jan 2020

Japan's Emperor Naruhito will pay a state visit to Britain in the coming months, British officials announced on Tuesday, in the first state visit after the country leaves the European Union.

Britain is set to leave the bloc on January 31 after nearly 50 years and has begun to tilt its diplomatic and economic attention more towards the rest of the world.

"Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan have accepted an invitation from Her Majesty The Queen to pay a state visit to the United Kingdom in spring 2020," said a brief statement from Buckingham Palace.

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will stay at Windsor Castle, west of London.

It will be the third Japanese state visit to Britain under the reign of 93-year-old Queen Elizabeth II, who has been on the throne since 1952.

She hosted emperor Hirohito in 1971 and his eldest son emperor Akihito in 1998.

Naruhito, 59, acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1 last year following the abdication of his father, Akihito.

Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip paid a state visit to Japan in 1975. They no longer undertake long-haul travel.

After Brexit, Britain will attempt to strike trade deals with countries around the world independent of the EU.

For state visits, Britain summons all its traditional pomp in a bid to cement cultural, diplomatic and economic ties.

Queen Elizabeth hosts guests at a castle or palace and the red-carpet visits typically involve ceremonial events, lavish banquets, cultural trips and political talks.

The last state visit to Britain was made by US President Donald Trump in June last year.