Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan Conclude 12-Day Visit to Canada

(No. 194 - July 14, 2009) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today paid tribute to Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan, departing Canada after a 12-day visit that included stops in Ottawa, Toronto, Victoria and Vancouver.

“Our heartfelt good wishes go with Their Majesties as they return home,” said Minister Cannon. “Wherever they went during their visit, they left a lasting impression of warmth and grace, from His Majesty skilfully quizzing the scientists at Victoria’s Institute of Ocean Sciences to Her Majesty singing a lullaby to sick children in a Toronto hospital.”

Minister Cannon was among those who welcomed Their Majesties to Ottawa on July 3, as was the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, who is a Canadian of Japanese descent.

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, participated in the official farewell to Their Majesties at Vancouver International Airport.

Their Majesties’ visit marked an important milestone in the history of the Canada-Japan relationship: this year is the 80th anniversary of the establishment of Canada’s first diplomatic mission in Japan.

Admiring crowds welcomed Their Majesties across the country. During the trip, they met with many Canadians, including those of Japanese heritage. They also met with Canadian officials including Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, and the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada. At Rideau Hall, Their Majesties planted a tree to commemorate the visit and to symbolize the importance the two countries place on their relationship.

This was His Majesty’s second trip to Canada. In 1953, as crown prince, he toured several Canadian cities on his way to the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in London.

Minister Cannon hosted Their Majesties at a July 8 special event in their honour in Ottawa. The event featured archival footage from His Majesty’s earlier visit, as well as the unveiling of a commemorative coin and envelope by the Royal Canadian Mint and Canada Post, a presentation by astronaut Steve MacLean and a performance by the Famous PEOPLE Players theatre company.

The band Monkey Majik also performed. The band’s two Japanese and two Canadian members have been appointed “goodwill ambassadors” for the diplomatic anniversary by the two governments.

For more information on the visit, please consult: Emperor and Empress of Japan visit Canada.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada