• Kyodo

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The Emperor and Empress hosted a banquet Tuesday evening at a Stockholm hotel to express their gratitude to Swedish King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia for welcoming them.

About 200 guests in tailcoats and evening dresses attended the dinner, including distinguished figures from Sweden’s literary and academic circles. The event was also attended by an official of the nursing home that the Emperor and Empress visited earlier in the day on the outskirts of Stockholm.

The Imperial Couple greeted the Swedish king and queen in the hotel lobby. After chatting together in the lounge, they joined the guests in the banquet hall.

The banquet was a casual affair, without speeches or other formal events, according to officials from the Imperial Household Agency.

The Imperial Couple arrived in Sweden on Sunday on the last leg of their four-nation European tour, which also took them to Switzerland, the Netherlands and Finland. They will return to Japan on Thursday.

Imperial adviser

The Imperial Household Agency on Wednesday announced the appointment of Gaishi Hiraiwa, honorable chairman of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren), as an adviser to the Imperial Couple.

The appointment of Hiraiwa, 85, takes effect today. He is the second adviser from Japan’s private sector after the late Taizo Ishizaka, who was once Keidanren chairman.

Hiraiwa served as president and chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co. before chairing Keidanren from December 1990 to May 1994.

He is the fourth adviser to the Imperial Couple, following Shoichi Fujimori, former grand steward of the Imperial Household, and two former Supreme Court justices, Toshijiro Nakajima and Katsuya Onishi, the agency said.