October 26, 2017
Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will visit the islands of Yakushima, Okinoerabu and Yoron in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, on Nov. 16-18, the Imperial Household Agency said Thursday.
The Imperial couple will visit the prefecture for the first time in 14 years. It will be the first time ever for them to pay a visit to Okinoerabu and Yoron.
They will lodge in Okinoerabu during the three-island tour.
After arriving at Kagoshima Airport on Nov. 16, the Emperor and the Empress will hear an explanation about progress in reconstruction after the May 2015 volcanic eruption in Kuchinoerabu, near Yakushima, according to the agency.
Later in the day, the couple will fly to Yakushima and hold talks with Kuchinoerabu residents who have been evacuated to the nearby island following the eruption. The Emperor and the Empress requested a meeting with the evacuees as they have been concerned about them, officials of the agency said.
On the second day, the couple will visit Yurigahama, a scenic beach in Yoron, and watch a local traditional art performance there.
On the final day, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will visit a lily farm in Okinoerabu and see brown sugar-making work at a local elementary school, before returning to Tokyo.
There had been a plan for the couple to visit Amami Oshima, also an island in Kagoshima, Okinoerabu and Yoron in 2012. But the plan was canceled due to health issues of the Emperor and in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that mainly struck northeastern Japan. Jiji Press
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