Crown Prince Naruhito and former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will be in South Africa on Tuesday to be Japan’s representatives in the memorial service to be held in honor of the former South African President Nelson Mandela. It will be the first time a member of the Japanese imperial family will be attending a funeral for a person not from any royal family.
While countries such as the U.S. and France are expected to be represented by their Presidents, Barack Obama and Francois Hollande, respectively, Japan was unable to schedule a trip for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida to attend the memorial service in preparation for the summit between Japan and the Association of Asian Nations in Tokyo this Friday. The crown prince was the best choice, having attended funeral services for the kings of Jordan, Norway and Tonga before.
A year after becoming the South African President, Nelson Mandela paid a state visit to the country in 1995 where he met with Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess Masako.
[via Global Post]