Japanese Crown Prince, Princess start visit to Poland

After the welcoming ceremony, the two couples held talks, followed by an official breakfast. Radek Pietruszka/PAP

President Andrzej Duda and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda welcomed Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko of Japan at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw on Friday. The royal couple will also visit Kraków and Łowicz before leaving Poland on Tuesday.

The official welcoming ceremony for the royal couple took place on the grounds of the Presidential Palace on Friday morning. Earlier, His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Akishino and Her Imperial Highness Princess Kiko laid a wreath at Warsaw's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The Head of the President's Office Krzysztof Szczerski pointed out that the visit by the royal couple has a special character as it will be Prince Akishino's first official foreign visit as heir to the Japanese throne. The visit also marks the centenary of diplomatic relations between the Poland and Japan. "The Japanese Empire was the first country in Asia, and the fifth in the world, to recognise the government of Prime Minister Ignacy Paderewski," Szczerski noted.

After the welcoming ceremony the two couples will hold talks, followed by an official breakfast. Later, on Friday evening, President Duda and the first lady will accompany the royal couple to a performance of traditional Japanese Noh theatre, to be staged at Warsaw's National Theatre.

During their visit to Poland's capital, Crown prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko will also attend a special open-air Chopin concert in the city's Royal Łazienki Park, visit the Old Town and tour the Royal Castle.

Before leaving Poland on Tuesday, the royal couple will also visit Kraków (southern Poland) and the town of Łowicz (central Poland).

On Tuesday, the crown prince and princess will travel to Finland, a country which is celebrating its 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Japan, as well.