TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) – The Emperor and Empress have traveled throughout Japan and the world over the years.
The Emperor put special priority on his duty as the “symbol of the state” to visit every part of Japan, particularly remote areas and islands. He traveled to all 47 prefectures in the nation in the first 15 years of his reign, and with his visit to Kagoshima Prefecture in 2017, the Emperor completed a second tour of all the prefectures with the Empress. He has visited 55 remote islands.
When the Emperor and Empress visited regional areas for annual events, such as the national tree-planting festival, they went to a variety of facilities, including those connected to regional traditions and culture, industries and academic research. They saw how people lived and listened to them.
Once, the Empress, on the spur of the moment, raised her arms to join in a “wave” at a venue for the 1998 Paralympics in Nagano as the Emperor watched with a warm gaze.
The Emperor and Empress have also devoted themselves to interacting with people with Hansen’s disease. Over the years, they visited and had conversations with residents at all 14 sanatoriums in the nation, the last being in July 2014.
They also broke new ground for the Imperial family in the area of international goodwill.
Following their enthronement, the Emperor and the Empress paid official visits to 28 countries, the most of any emperor. If the countries they visited as crown prince and princess are included, the number rises to 51; add the nations they traveled to unofficially, and the total reaches 58.