Retiring Japanese Emperor Holds Last Meeting with Foreign Leader

Society

Tokyo, April 4 (Jiji Press)--Retiring Japanese Emperor Akihito held a meeting with visiting Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela at the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo on Thursday.

This was the Emperor's final meeting with a foreign leader before his abdication on April 30, when Japan's current Heisei era ends, according to officials of the Imperial Household Agency.

At the 30-minute meeting, which was also joined by Empress Michiko and Varela's wife, the Panamanian president said he was grateful from the bottom of his heart for the achievements Emperor Akihito has made for world peace and prosperity while on the throne.

Varela also said that he came to Japan this time to directly tell the Emperor that he will step down from the post of president in June.

In response, Emperor Akihito noted that Japan never waged war with any other nation during the 30-year Heisei era, stressing that this was "the most important thing," and that Japanese people have seriously reflected on the atrocity of war.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press