Japan emperor hails Queen Elizabeth's 'many achievements'

·2-min read

Japan mourned Queen Elizabeth's death on Friday, with the emperor hailing her "many achievements" and the prime minister calling her passing a loss for the entire world.

"I express my heartfelt respect and gratitude to the queen for the many achievements and contributions she has made," Emperor Naruhito said in a statement issued by the Imperial Household Agency.

"Her way of always wishing for peace and tranquillity in the world deeply impressed many people."

The emperor's comments followed a tribute from Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who praised her "extremely important role in world peace and stability".

"The death of the queen, who led Britain through turbulent times in the world, is a great loss not only for the British people but also the international community," he told reporters on Friday morning, also expressing his "deep sorrow".

Kishida said the queen had "contributed greatly to the strengthening of Japan-UK relations".

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

Flags in Japan will be flown at half-mast in respect for the late monarch, chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said.

Noboru Suzuki, 81, was among those who went to pay condolences outside the British embassy in Tokyo, where some people left flowers at the gate.

"The British royal family is one of the best known, so I'm sure the whole world is engulfed by sadness, but because Japan has its own imperial family, we're in shock, too," he told AFP.

Another mourner, 54-year-old Yasuko Osawa, said she had studied in Britain twice, her trips coinciding with the heyday of princess Diana's popularity.

"So my path crossed with the British royal family, even just a little," she said.

"British royals have had their share of scandals, but I sincerely hope they are able to overcome this loss," she said, adding that the queen was "someone truly deserving of a state funeral".

Japan will hold a state funeral for assassinated former prime minister Shinzo Abe later this month, an event that has caused controversy partly over its $12 million price tag.