MANILA—Japanese Emperor Akihito and his wife Empress Michiko on Tuesday, 2:40 pm, arrived Manila for a five-day state visit from Jan 26 to 30.
The royal couple landed via Boeing 747-JF 001 and were personally welcomed by President Benigno S. Aquino III and some cabinet officials.
This visit is considered a reciprocal one as President Aquino went on a state visit to Tokyo last June and invited them to spend some time in Manila.
To recall, their last visit to the Philippines was in 1962 when they were then crown prince and princess.
Malacanang said that the Japanese royals’ visit is a fitting kick off for the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations of the Philippines and Japan.
Aside from meeting President Aquino, the Japanese royals’ will also be taking a side trip to Laguna in addition to their scheduled activities in Manila. Activities in Manila will be held Jan 26 until 28 while activities in Laguna will be held on Jan 29, before the couple flies back to Japan on Jan 30.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. earlier described the Japanese royals’ visit as a ‘buena mano’ for its campaign, Visit the Philippines Again 2016.
He further said that the visit was significant because it meant telling Japanese people that “it’s okay to visit the Philippines.”
Data from the DOT showed that Japan is currently the third largest market in terms of international visitor arrivals to the Philippines after Korea and USA, which are first and second, respectively.
As of October 2015, there were a total of 417,147 Japanese visitors and sharing 9.49 percent to the total. This is a 9.02 percent increase from the 382,633 visitors it acquired in the same period in 2014.