The Emperor and Empress returned to Tokyo on Thursday morning after a 13-day, four-nation European tour.

They arrived at Tokyo’s Haneda airport aboard a specially chartered government plane from Stockholm.

The Imperial Couple, who left Japan on May 20, visited Switzerland, the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden.

“We received a warm and heartfelt welcome from many people in each country we visited, and I was glad because I thought it was an indication of friendship with Japan,” the Emperor said upon his arrival.

Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, the Crown Prince and the Crown Princess were among those who greeted the Emperor and Empress at the airport.

Their European trip unfolded without any major incident.

Former Dutch soldiers and civilians who were interned in Japanese forced-labor camps in the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia, during World War II staged peaceful demonstrations, demanding the Japanese government pay compensation.

In a speech at a state banquet in the Netherlands on May 23, the Emperor expressed grief and sadness that the two nations fought in the war, noting it has left “unhealed scars” even today.