Friday, November 24, 2017

Coming Up Next Week: State Visit Schedule

Next week the much anticipated Luxembourgish state visit to Japan is finally coming up. The Grand Duke will be joined by his only daughter Princess Alexandra. The Grand Duchess will not be travelling to Japan due to her fear of flying, the cour has announced. Some have asked why the Hereditary Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duchess aren't stepping in instead. Two ideas: a) Prescheduled events or b) only a +1 was needed. Either way, yours truly it excited to see more of Princess Alexandra during a week than during some years.

Grand Duke Henri and his daughter will presumably be leaving the Grand Duchy on Sunday to travel to the far east. The traditional farewell ceremony will take place at Findel Airport. They will be accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Etienne Schneider, Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn and Minister of Finance Pierre Gramegna as well as an economic delegation of about 100 people.

First Day

On Monday, November 27, the Grand Duke and Princess Alexandra will be officially welcomed by their hosts, the Emperor and Empress of Japan, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Afterwards, Grand Duke Henri will deliver the opening remarks at the Japan-Luxembourg Business Forum. This seminar will give Luxembourgish companies the chance to establish contacts or deepen their relations with local companies in areas such as logistics, tourism and information technology.

Subsequently, the Grand Duchy's head of state, accompanied by Princess Alexandra and Ministers Etienne Schneider and Pierre Gramegna, will be awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa at Sophia University. A meeting with students, professors and staff of Sophia University is also planned. You may recall the university from Prince Félix's and Princess Claire's visit to Japan a few years ago. There is also another connection to Luxembourg as the country's Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich is a former professor and vice-rector of the Jesuit university.

The first day of the state visit will conclude with the traditional gala dinner hosted by the Emperor and Empress in honour of their guests. Shallow me hopes for some major bling and a new - to her - tiara for Princess Alexandra. 

Second Day

On Tuesday, Grand Duke Henri and Princess Alexandra, accompanied by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, will travel to Tsukuba in the Ibaraki Prefecture with the imperial train, where they will be welcomed by the authorities and the local population. The delegation will then visit the Tsukuba Space Center of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, in the presence of the Ministers of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

After the return to Tokyo in the afternoon, the Grand Duke will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. To round off the day, the return dinner for their Japanese hosts will be given by Grand Duke Henri. Princess Alexandra - and hopefully another tiara (a girl can dream!) - will also be present for the event.

Third day

Two conferences will be the main items on the agenda for day three of the state visit: The Luxembourg-Japan Space Conference and the Luxembourg-Japan Finance Conference. The first conference will also give Grand Duke Henri the chance to visit Japan's second tallest building. Grand Duchess Maria Teresa will offer the opening remarks of the second conference by video broadcast. The state visit will end with a reception hosted by the Luxembourgish embassy in Japan and an official farewell by the Emperor and Empress.

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