Japan’s crown prince, princess leave for Vietnam

Japan’s Crown Prince Fumihito and his wife Princess Kiko departed Wednesday for a visit to Vietnam to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the countries.

During their six-day official visit, the couple plan to meet with the families of former Japanese soldiers who stayed on to fight for Vietnamese independence after World War II.

After arriving in Hanoi later in the day, they will attend a welcome ceremony on Thursday hosted by Vietnamese Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan and an event to mark the countries’ diplomatic milestone.

They are scheduled to meet Friday with Vietnamese who have studied in Japan.

On Saturday, the couple will visit Da Nang in central Vietnam and travel to Hoi An, an old city that used to have a Japanese town. They will also visit My Son Sanctuary, a World Heritage site, the following day before returning to Japan on Monday.

The trip follows a formal invitation by Vietnam extended in early August. It will be the couple’s first official visit to the country since 1999, when they also traveled to Laos and Thailand.

It is the couple’s third official overseas trip since the May 2019 ascension of Emperor Naruhito, which made Crown Prince Fumihito — the emperor’s younger brother — next in line to the throne.

The crown prince and his wife previously visited Poland and Finland in 2019 to commemorate the centenary of diplomatic ties with the two countries, and Britain in May this year to attend the coronation of King Charles III.

By Nadeem Faisal Baiga