National

Emperor, Empress meet Dutch royal couple

Kyodo

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko met on Wednesday with Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, who are visiting Japan as state guests.

During the meeting at the Imperial Palace, the king said many Japanese companies have expanded into the Netherlands and created new jobs there, expressing his wish to strengthen economic relations between the two nations, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

After hearing the king say that officials at small Dutch companies were accompanying him on his trip to Japan, the emperor underlined the importance of small companies’ activities, saying that such firms have invented new technologies, the agency said.

Before the meeting at an audience room in the palace’s main building, the Emperor and Empress held a welcome event for the Dutch royal couple in the East Garden, flanked by Crown Prince Naruhito, Crown Princess Masako and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, among other public figures.

Later in the evening, the Dutch king and queen attended a state banquet at the palace hosted by the Emperor and Empress, with around 160 other guests, including Abe and his wife, Akie.

Crown Princess Masako, who has been receiving treatment for a stress-induced illness, was also present, marking her first appearance at such an event since October 2003, when the Imperial Couple hosted a state banquet in honor of a the visiting Mexican president and his wife.