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Princess Mako visits Bolivia

By 外務省ホームページ, CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Princess Mako of Akishino – a niece of Emperor Naruhito of Japan – continued her first official overseas visit since her uncle’s accession with a visit to Bolivia.

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Her visit to mark the 120th anniversary of the start of Japanese immigration to Bolivia began on Monday with a courtesy call on the Bolivian President, Evo Morales. “I wish the bilateral relationship will be amicable for a long time,” she said.

Princess Mako also conveyed a message from her aunt and uncle, Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, in which they said they wish “to deepen the relationship of the two countries on the occasion” of the immigration anniversary. The president thanked Japan for forgiving a large amount of Bolivian debt in the past and for continuing to provide economic cooperation afterwards. “I’d like to express my gratitude for contributing to Bolivia’s prosperity,” he said. The president told Princess Mako to send his best regards to her aunt and uncle. An estimated 11,3650 Bolivians are of Japanese descent.

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The president then took Princess Mako to the rooftop of the presidential office building to show her the city surrounded by the Andes Mountains. At the following luncheon, Princess Mako said she was looking forward to experiencing Bolivia’s attractions. She took to the skies once more when she took a cable car to the city to take in the view.

The following day, Princess Mako visited a Japanese language school in Santa Cruz, and she applauded the students’ essay and calligraphic works. She also visited a museum in La Paz, which shows the history of Japanese immigration to Bolivia.

Princess Mako is the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko. Her younger brother Prince Hisahito is second in line to the throne behind their father. Princess Mako herself is not in the line of succession as women are currently barred from ascending the throne.