Ahead of the G-20 Summit held in Osaka, Japan, French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron were received by Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako at the Imperial Palace on 27 June. This was the first meeting between the two couples since Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne on 1 May. Emmanuel Macron is the second world leader to meet with the new emperor, after US President Donald Trump. Emperor Naruhito first met with the Presidential couple last September while he was on an official visit to France – his last official visit abroad as Crown Prince of Japan- but it is the first meeting between the Presidential couple and Empress Masako.
Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako welcomed Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron in front of the Imperial Palace before their meeting. According to the Imperial Agency, Emperor Naruhito and President Macron talked about several topics including climate change and the Emperor thanked President Macron for sending a congratulatory message following his ascension to the throne. Empress Masako and Brigitte Macron talked in French and in English but the Imperial Agency did not share any other details about the conversation. Jeff Wittenberg, a French journalist, said about the visit: “Everything in this meeting followed by lunch is extremely codified, to the second. But on the other hand, the Emperor and the President won’t talk about politics as the Japanese constitution forbids it.”
After the meeting, Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako hosted a lunch for the presidential couple with Princess Mako and Princess Kako in attendance. French media reported that the lunch started with a silent toast and that the guests talked about culture and arts. It is also reported that Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron brought gifts for the Imperial couple: a classic Dior handbag for Empress Masako and a silk fan for Emperor Naruhito.