Japan’s emperor arrives in Indonesia for first state visit

The first state visit by the Japanese monarchs since taking the Chrysanthemum Throne in 2019 began on Saturday when they landed in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.

A meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo at a palace south of Jakarta and a visit to a military cemetery honoring Indonesian and Japanese soldiers are among the highlights of the June 17–23 trip to Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

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Japan captured Indonesia from the Dutch East Indies without a fight, shattering the Dutch sense of superiority, and controlled it for more than three years during and after World War II.

The Japanese surrender at the end of the war paved the way for Indonesian independence in 1945 despite Dutch attempts to wrest back its former colony.

“Since the war, Japan has worked hard to contribute to international peace and prosperity with Asian countries including Indonesia,” Naruhito told reporters Thursday before the trip.

“Based on the countries’ history of diplomacy, I hope this visit will help deepen the friendly relationship between our nations.”

28 former Japanese soldiers who stayed and fought for Jakarta in the Indonesian War of Independence between 1945 and 1949 are buried in a military cemetery in south Jakarta, where the royal couple will go.

They will also stop by a new MRT train depot that was built in the capital with Japanese assistance and a flood control pump station that was supported by Tokyo.

The emperor will visit Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world, in addition to traveling to Yogyakarta in central Java to see the regional king.

After restricting them during the Covid-19 outbreak, the pair has gradually resumed their public obligations.

They traveled abroad for the first time since the enthronement to London last year to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s death.

In 1962 and 1991, the emperors of Japan have traveled to Indonesia.

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