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Japanese emperor to attend Queen Elizabeth's funeral: government

Rare appearance reflects deep generational ties with Britain

20220914 Japan  emperor
Emperor Naruhito, left, and Empress Masako are scheduled to leave Japan on Saturday and return home on Tuesday.

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako are scheduled to attend Queen Elizabeth II's state funeral in Britain next week at the invitation of the nation's royal family, the Japanese government said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and other government officials are not planning to attend the funeral slated for Monday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a news conference.

An emperor traditionally does not make appearances at funerals at home or abroad. The decision to attend reflects the deep bond between the royal and imperial families.

"During Queen Elizabeth's 70-year reign, the British royal family and the Japanese imperial family have maintained friendly relations for three generations," including the current emperor's grandfather and father, said Matsuno, the top government spokesman.

The British royal family invited Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako to visit Britain after Naruhito assumed the throne in May 2019, but the plan was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Matsuno.

The imperial couple is scheduled to leave Japan on Saturday and return home on Tuesday, he said.

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