Statement by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
On Their Majesties' Visit to European Countries

December 15, 2006

I am pleased to announce that Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress will pay an Official Visit to the Kingdom of Sweden, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Japan has had close and friendly relations with these countries. The Kingdom of Sweden and the U.K. have extended their invitations to Their Majesties to visit both countries at the occasion of the 300th birthday of Carl Linnaeus, a prominent biologist. The Imperial Family has long enjoyed cordial relationship with their respective Royal Families. Invitations have also been extended to Their Majesties to make their first visit to the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Latvia, and the Republic of Lithuania, with which Japan sees the 15th anniversary of establishment of the new diplomatic relations this year.

I am convinced that, through the Visit, existing friendly relations with these countries will be further strengthened, for which I would like to share my immense pleasure with the people of Japan.

I would like to express my wholehearted wish for Their Majesties' pleasant journey and safe return home.


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