• Kyodo

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Crown Prince Naruhito attended the state funeral Tuesday of Tonga’s King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV, who died earlier this month after a long illness.

The Crown Prince, dressed in a morning coat, attended a Christian church service at a palace in the South Pacific kingdom’s capital Nuku’alofa with other international dignitaries.

He bowed to the king’s coffin and later joined an estimated several thousand people to witness the interment in the royal tombs.

The wreaths laid there included ones prepared by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

The king occasionally visited Japan and attended the funeral of Emperor Hirohito in 1989. Tonga’s royal family has maintained a close relationship with Japan’s.

Prince Akishino, the Crown Prince’s younger brother, and his wife, Princess Kiko, visited the kingdom in 2003.

The Crown Prince, who left Haneda airport in Tokyo aboard a government plane Monday, arrived in the kingdom Tuesday morning after staying overnight in Auckland, New Zealand. He is to stay in Auckland again Tuesday and return home Wednesday.

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