Emperor, Empress head to India

JIJI

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will kick off their one-week official trip to India on Saturday.

The Imperial Couple were invited by the Indian government as state guests for the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The couple will visit the South Asian country for the first time in 53 years. They made the first trip in 1960 as Crown Prince and Princess on behalf of Emperor Hirohito, known posthumously as Emperor Showa.

Emperor Akihito will be the first emperor to visit India.

According to itineraries provided by the Imperial Household Agency, the Emperor and Empress will leave Tokyo International Airport at Haneda on a government plane Saturday morning and arrive in New Delhi in the afternoon.

They will attend a welcoming ceremony Monday and lay flowers at Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.