Prince Akishino and his wife, Princess Kiko, left Thursday for an unofficial visit to Thailand through Sunday, where the prince will receive honorary degrees from two universities.

The couple will attend conferment ceremonies Saturday for the degrees, which are being bestowed on the prince for his research achievement in ichthyology and ornithology by Srinakharinwirot University and Chulalongkorn University, the Imperial Household Agency said.

The princess will return to Tokyo on Sunday, but the prince, the younger son of the Emperor and Empress, will travel to Laos, where he will remain until Aug. 14 to conduct research on wild birds, the agency said.

The prince is scheduled to return to Tokyo from Vientiane on Aug. 16 via Bangkok, according to agency.

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