Empress Michiko will attend a Sept. 29 jubilee congress in Basel, Switzerland, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the International Board on Books for Young People, the Imperial Household Agency said.

The visit was officially decided at a Cabinet meeting Friday. For the Empress, 67, who married the current Emperor in 1959, this will be her first overseas trip alone as a member of the royal family, the agency said.

The Empress will leave Japan on Sept. 28 and deliver a speech at the opening ceremony of the congress the next day.

After taking part in a number of events at the congress, including seminars and lectures, she will leave Basel on Oct. 2 and arrive back in Japan on Oct. 3, it said.

She will also attend a reception hosted by the city of Basel, the agency said.

The Empress had planned to participate in the 26th IBBY congress in New Delhi in 1998, but the trip was canceled after India conducted nuclear tests prior to the event.

IBBY was founded in Zurich in 1953 to promote international understanding through children’s books.

It has become a nongovernmental organization with branches in more than 60 countries and has official ties with UNESCO and UNICEF.

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