National

Belgian king, queen to visit Japan in October

Kyodo

Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde are scheduled to make a state visit to Japan in October as the countries commemorate 150 years of bilateral ties, Japanese officials said Monday.

During their Oct. 11-14 visit, the king and queen are scheduled to speak with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko and attend a banquet at the Imperial Palace, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.

He said the visit will help “further develop the relationship of friendship, goodwill and cooperation that our countries have built in a variety of fields.”

“More than 200 Japanese companies have expanded (their business) into Belgium, and it is extremely important for us to strengthen our ties across a broad range of fields including politics and the economy,” Suga said.

Philippe ascended the throne in July 2013 following the abdication of his father, Albert II. Before that, the current king and queen visited Japan as prince and princess in June 2012.