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Japanese Crown Prince and Princess to visit NZ

Japanese Crown Prince and Princess to visit NZ

Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today that the Crown Prince and Princess of Japan will visit New Zealand from 12 to 16 December.

“The government welcomes the news that Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako will be taking up a long-standing invitation to visit New Zealand,: Helen Clark said.

This visit to New Zealand and Australia is the first overseas travel for the Crown Prince and Princess in three years. The Crown Prince and Princess have a daughter, Princess Aiko, who turns one year old on 1 December. She will not be accompanying the imperial couple to New Zealand.

The visit programme will include official activities in Wellington, civic receptions in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland, and sightseeing in Te Anau and Milford Sound (itinerary attached). The imperial couple have chosen to follow the same travel route as that undertaken by the Crown Prince’s parents, now the Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, who visited New Zealand in 1973.

The visit comes in the same year as the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and New Zealand. The anniversary was commemorated last week by the installation of a tomokanga Maori carved marae entranceway at the New Zealand Embassy in Japan.

Crown Prince Naruhito, born 23 February 1960, graduated with a Bachelors in History and a Masters in Medieval History of Japan from Gakushuin University. In 1983 he undertook post-graduate studies at Oxford University. He was formally invested as Crown Prince on 23 February 1990.

Crown Princess Masako, born 9 December 1963, is daughter of Ambassador Owada, a Member of the International Court of Justice. She studied economics at Harvard University graduating in 1990 with honours, and undertook post-graduate studies at Oxford University. She speaks French, English and German, and was a career diplomat before marrying the Crown Prince.

Contact: David Lewis 021-409 492, Jocelyn Prasad 021-822 734

Tentative Itinerary

12 December Arrive in Wellington, via Auckland Welcome at Government House

13 December Official activities, sightseeing Civic Reception Official Dinner at Government House

14 December Arrive in Christchurch Civic reception and sightseeing Arrive in Te Anau

15 December Sightseeing Arrive in Auckland, via Christchurch

16 December Civic reception, official activities Leave Auckland for Sydney, Australia

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