• Kyodo

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The Emperor and Empress on Monday attended a welcoming ceremony at the Stockholm Royal Palace on the last leg of their four-nation European tour, which also took them to Switzerland, the Netherlands and Finland.

The Imperial Couple, who arrived in Sweden on Sunday afternoon for a four-day official visit, attended the ceremony after a 15-minute carriage ride from the Royal Mews to the palace, accompanied by Swedish King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia. The route was lined with spectators.

At the ceremony, the Emperor inspected the imperial guards and exchanged gifts in the palace.

Following the ceremony, the couple will attend a luncheon at the palace hosted by the king and queen, and the Emperor will meet with Swedish Parliament Speaker Birgitta Dahl and Prime Minister Goran Persson.

The Swedish royal couple will accompany the Emperor and Empress on a visit to a museum exhibiting stone tools, pottery and celadon porcelain from China, the Korean Peninsula, Japan, India and other Asian countries.

The Imperial Couple are also scheduled to attend the opening ceremony for a Japanese art design exhibition at the museum and view works on display. They will be guided by Japanese dress designer Issei Miyake and architect Arata Isozaki, both of whose works are also being shown.

The couple will also participate in a dinner banquet hosted by the Swedish king and queen at the palace.

The Emperor and Empress last visited Sweden in 1985 as the Crown Prince and Princess. They are scheduled to leave Stockholm on Wednesday and return to Japan Thursday.