Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko headed Monday for a 10-day tour of Europe that will include stops in the three Baltic nations, their first visit to the former Soviet Union.
The imperial couple will go to Sweden before visiting Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, followed by a stop in Britain, where they have in the past faced angry protests by World War II veterans.
"I hope that these visits will help enhance the mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and these countries," Akihito said before leaving Haneda airport in Tokyo.
"Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania became independent after going through half a century of difficulty. Their friendship with Japan has steadily grown," he said.
Last Mod: 21 Mayıs 2007, 13:18