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The government decided Friday on the itinerary for Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko’s official visit to Poland and Hungary, and stopovers in the Czech Republic and Austria, next month, government officials said.

The couple will enter the Czech Republic on July 6, Poland on July 9, Austria on July 13 and Hungary on July 16. Their two-week tour is aimed at deepening friendship with those countries, particularly in the field of culture, they said.

The government also formally decided at a Cabinet meeting to appoint former Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura to lead the entourage for the trip.

In Hungary, the Emperor and Empress will meet President Ferenc Madl and attend a welcoming banquet.

In Poland, they will visit an institute in Krakow known for its collection of ukiyo-e.

They will visit the headquarters of the Prague Symphony Orchestra in the Czech Republic and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in Austria.

They will also tour facilities for the elderly in Poland and Hungary.

It will be the first time for the couple to visit the four European countries, and their first trip abroad since they visited the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and Finland from May 20 to June 1, 2000.

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