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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko embarked Friday on a 15-day visit to Canada and Hawaii to promote good will and friendship as well as to interact with people of Japanese ancestry there.

The couple’s official visit to Canada, the first since the Emperor ascended the throne in 1989, will mark the 80th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Canada. It is their first overseas trip since a European tour in May 2007 that covered Sweden, Britain and three Baltic states.

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