Aquino gets Japan’s highest honor from imperial family
TOKYO–The imperial family welcomed President Benigno Aquino III at the historic Imperial Palace here on a rainy Wednesday morning, according the Philippine leader with Japan’s highest honor.
In subdued rites at the Audience Room of the Imperial Palace, Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko led the royal welcome for Aquino, introducing him to a roster of more than 40 VIPs, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The five-minute welcome rites were moved indoors instead of the Palace grounds due to light rains over the city this morning.
The honors were followed by a State Call, where the Emperor and the President exchanged thank yous. His Majesty thanked Aquino for accepting the invitation to visit, while the President thanked the Emperor for all of Japan’s help to the Philippines, especially in times of disaster.
The President is on the second day of his four-day state visit to Japan. Later on Wednesday, he is expected to deliver an address at Japan’s National Diet.
During the meeting, Mr. Aquino received Japan’s highest honor, the Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum. The award was previously accorded to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and members of Britain’s royal family, including Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, and Prince William.
In return, Aquino bestowed the Order of Lakandula Grand Collar (Supremo) on Emperor Akihito, for his contributions to strengthening and pushing forward the relations between Japan and the Philippines.
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