Prince William lays flowers at Yokohama war cemetery


Britain’s Prince William on Friday paid a visit to the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Yokohama and attended a luncheon hosted by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko during his first Japan visit that started the previous day.

The Duke of Cambridge, 32, who will stay in Japan through Sunday, laid a wreath and offered a silent prayer at the cemetery dedicated to about 1,700 Commonwealth servicemen from such countries as Britain, Canada and Australia, including those who died in Japan as prisoners of war during World War II.

The prince signed his name in the visitors’ register and went through an album containing pictures of his late mother Princess Diana, who visited the cemetery during her last visit to Japan in 1995.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, 88, and late former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher also paid their respects at the cemetery when they visited Japan.

Later in the day, the prince expressed his gratitude to the emperor and empress who welcomed him at the Imperial Palace. He said he was glad to have an audience with them.

The Japanese imperial couple met with the prince and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, in May 2012 during their visit to Britain to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the queen’s reign. The duchess is not accompanying Prince William this time as she is expecting the couple’s second child.

Prince William is scheduled to visit areas of northeastern Japan hit hard by the March 2011 quake-tsunami disasters from Saturday.