Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will travel to Britain to attend Queen Elizabeth II ‘s state funeral next week to pay respects to her, Japan’s top government spokesperson said Wednesday.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said the Japanese government requested they accept the British royals’ invitation to attend, considering the close relations between the two countries’ royal families.
Traditionally, a Japanese emperor stays away from funerals whether at home or abroad because of a cultural belief based in the Shinto religion that considers death impure. The decision for Naruhito to attend the queen’s funeral underscores the importance and the deep bond between the royal families.
Matsuno said Japan’s imperial family has had close relations with Britain’s Royal Family for three generations including Naruhito’s grandfather, late Emperor Hirohito.
Queen Elizabeth had invited Naruhito to visit Britain as a first destination of his foreign visits after ascending to the Chrysanthemum Throne in 2019, which had to be postponed due to the pandemic, Matsuno said.
There are no plans for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and other government officials to attend the funeral, he said.
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