TOKYO – Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito set off on Friday on a nine-day visit to France, which will be his first official visit to the country, on the occasion of the 160th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Naruhito, whose visit comes at the invitation of the European country, left from Tokyo’s Haneda international airport and was expected to arrive in the French city of Lyon on Friday night, a spokesperson for the Imperial Household Agency confirmed to EFE.
Prince Naruhito, 58, is scheduled to visit a textile museum in Lyon, a winery in Santenay, and scientific research facilities in Grenoble, before heading to Paris.
In the French capital, the crown prince will meet with the country’s president, Emmanuel Macron, at the Palace of Versailles on Wednesday.
Naruhito will also attend a Japanese-themed cultural event, “Japonismes 2018,” in Paris and watch a Kabuki theater performance, according to the Imperial Household Agency.
This could possibly be among Naruhito’s last foreign visits before ascending the Chrysanthemum Throne to succeed his father Emperor Akihito, 84, who is scheduled to abdicate on April 30, 2019.
France had also invited Crown Princess Masako, who could not accompany her husband due to ill health.
Naruhito earlier visited France while studying at Oxford University in England in the 1980s.