Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan, who have never been to south India during their previous visits to the country, will be in Chennai next month.

The other city that will play host to the royal couple during the visit, their first to the country as Emperor and Empress, will be Delhi.

Among the reasons Chennai was chosen include the presence of a large number of Japanese people and companies here. The number of Japanese residing in the State, a majority of them in and around Chennai, was 750, while, as of October last year, there were 344 Japanese companies.

On Wednesday, consul-general of Japan in Chennai, Masanori Nakano, said the Emperor and Empress will be arriving in Delhi on November 30. Apart from meeting the President and Prime Minister, their programme in the national capital includes visits to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and India International Centre.

During their stay in Chennai, on December 4 and 5, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will visit Kalakshetra Foundation and Spastics Society of Tamil Nadu. They will also attend a luncheon hosted by the Governor, said Mr. Nakano.

Biwa and veena

The visit to India will foster age-old ties between India and Japan and ‘deepen our mutual understanding,’ said Mr. Nakano. There were a lot of cultural similarities between the two countries and one of them was biwa, a musical instrument in Japan, similar to the veena.

The Emperor, as per the Constitution of Japan, is ‘the symbol of the State and the unity of people.’ The objective of such goodwill, royal visits is to promote people-to-people contact, the consul-general said.

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