• Kyodo


Crown Prince Akishino, Crown Princess Kiko and their 12-year-old son, Prince Hisahito, arrived in Bhutan on Saturday to begin a private family trip.

It is the first overseas trip for the junior high school student, who became second in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne following his uncle, Emperor Naruhito’s, enthronement in May.

The two princes took separate flights as a precautionary measure while Crown Princess Kiko flew with her son, who is currently on summer vacation.

After receiving a welcome from members of the Bhutanese royal family at Paro Airport, the three met with officials of the Japan International Cooperation Agency and visited a national museum.

“Could a major earthquake occur?” Prince Hisahito asked when the JICA officials were giving a briefing on earthquake activities in Bhutan.

“When you are with the Bhutanese people, in what situation do you feel happy?” Crown Prince Akishino asked the officials about their lives in the country known as the “land of happiness.”

The family will meet Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck over lunch Monday in the capital, Thimphu, according to the Imperial Household Agency in Tokyo.

They will watch a demonstration of archery, Bhutan’s national sport, on Tuesday. Visits to temples and museums are also scheduled during their stay before they return on Aug. 25.

Japan has maintained a close relationship with Bhutan since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1986. Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko traveled to the country in 1997, while the king of Bhutan visited Japan as a state guest in 2011.

In 2017, Princess Mako, the elder sister of Prince Hisahito, paid an official visit to Bhutan.

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