Britain’s King Charles welcomes visiting Japanese emperor and empress

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Britain’s King Charles III, (left) and Japans Emperor Naruhito ride in a one carriage during the ceremonial welcome for the State Visit to Britain of the Emperor and Empress, in London on June 25. (AP)

LONDON, June 25, (AP): King Charles III welcomed the Japanese emperor and empress for a state visit that began on Tuesday, offering the best in pomp and circumstance as the UK seeks to bolster its role as the most influential European nation in the Indo-Pacific region.
Emperor Naruhito and Empress of Masako are to attend a banquet hosted by the king, lay a wreath at Westminster Abbey and tour one of Britain’s premier biomedical research institutes. But the emperor began this week’s trip by visiting a site that has special meaning: The Thames Barrier.
The retractable flood control gates on the River Thames seemed a natural destination for a royal long interested in the waterway that runs through the heart of London. Naruhito studied 18th-century commerce on the river as a graduate student at the University of Oxford some 40 years ago.
He chronicled the interest in his memoir “The Thames and I,” together with his fondness for Britain and its people.
Tuesday’s ceremonial welcome seemed warm. Charles and Naruhito, who have known each other for years, settled into the back of a carriage and chatted like old chums.
Both countries look to each other as a source of stability and mutual reassurance at a time of potentially destabilizing global political change.

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