On 26th January, HIM Emperor Akihito and HIM Empress Michiko departed for Republic of the Philippines. Their Majesties will be back on 30th January.
The members of Imperial Family gathered at Tokyo International Airport to give Their Majesties a send-off.
Remarks by His Majesty the Emperor at the Time of Their Majesties’ Departure for the Republic of the Philippines (January 26, 2016)
Text from Imperial Household Agency
I will be visiting the Philippines together with the Empress at the invitation of His Excellency Mr. Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines.
In 1962 we visited the Philippines as a representative of Emperor Showa to reciprocate the State Visit to Japan by His Excellency President Carlos P. Garcia. Today, after 54 years, we feel happy and moved to think that once again we have the opportunity to visit the Philippines on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between our two countries.
During World War II, countless Filipino, American, and Japanese lives were lost in the Philippines. A great many innocent Filipino civilians became casualties of the fierce battles fought in the city of Manila. This history will always be in our hearts as we make this visit to the Philippines.
Towards the end of our trip, we will visit Caliraya on the eastern part of the island of Luzon, and pay our respects at the monument dedicated to the souls of the Japanese war dead in many parts of the Philippines.
It is our sincere hope that this visit to the Philippines will contribute to the further development of mutual understanding and friendly relations between our two countries.
Lastly, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Prime Minister and the many people who worked so hard to make this visit possible.