Japan emperor expected to attend Queen Elizabeth's funeral: media

·1-min read

Japan's Emperor Naruhito is expected to attend Queen Elizabeth's state funeral, local media reported on Saturday.

If confirmed, this will be his first overseas trip since he ascended the Chrysanthemum throne in 2019 following his father's abdication.

Naruhito was scheduled to visit Britain as his first overseas trip after the ascension, but it was postponed due to the pandemic.

Public broadcaster NHK reported Saturday that the Imperial Household Agency and the Japanese government are making arrangements, citing unnamed sources.

Both were not immediately available to confirm the reports.

The Mainichi Shimbun daily noted that this is a rare response, as the emperor does not typically attend any funerals in Japan and overseas, though other members of the royal family do.

Empress Masako will also attend if her condition allows, reports said.

Local media cited close ties between Japanese and British royals as reasons for Naruhito's possible attendance.

Naruhito's father Akihito attended the queen's coronation in 1953 as the crown prince in place of then-emperor Hirohito.

In 1975, the queen made the first visit to Japan by a British monarch and met Hirohito.

In a statement released after her death, Naruhito hailed her "many achievements and contributions", saying he felt "deep sorrow".

The 62-year-old emperor -- who studied at Oxford University -- thanked her for "many considerations she has given me during my studies and visits to the UK".

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is also reportedly considering attending the funeral.

nf/dhc