Monday, May 21, 2007

Imperial Couple leave for Europe

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko left on Monday for a 10-day tour of five European countries.
"I hope that our visits will contribute to the promotion of mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and the countries we visit," the Emperor said before boarding a government chartered flight.
The Imperial Couple will attend a ceremony to mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of biologist Carl von Linne during their stay in Sweden, then visit the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
In Britain, the Emperor and the Empress are to attend a commemorative ceremony organized by the Linnean Society of London.
This is the first overseas trip for the Imperial Couple since their visit to Southeast Asia in June last year and the 14th since Emperor Akihito's enthronement.
Emperor Akihito is known as a taxonomist of fish. He has discovered seven new types of gobies and published 28 theses on the bulletins of the Ichthyological Society of Japan.
In 1986, the Emperor was elected an honorary member of the Linnean Society of London for his contributions to ichthyology.
Linne is known as the father of taxonomy.
Nobel Prize-winning chemist Ryoji Noyori is serving as chief of the entourage because the Imperial Couple's tour of Europe is of an academic nature. A former prime minister or a former foreign minister usually heads the entourage of the Imperial Couple during their overseas trips.