http://mdn.mainichi.jp/md...1116p2g00m0dm031000c.htmlBhutan royal couple express condolences for Japan quake victims
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The king and queen of Bhutan, who are visiting Japan as state guests, expressed their condolences for the victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami during a meeting with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his wife on Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry said.
King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, whose six-day itinerary with Queen Jetsun Pema includes a visit to areas hit hard by the March disaster as well as some sightseeing in Kyoto, also expressed his gratitude to Noda for Japan's economic cooperation with Bhutan, the Japanese ministry said.
Noda welcomed the couple's marriage and he expressed his readiness to further bolster relations between Japan and Bhutan as this year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties, it added.
The couple, who married last month, are Japan's first state guests since the northeastern region of Tohoku was devastated by the March earthquake and tsunami.
On Tuesday, the 31-year-old king and 21-year-old queen, wearing traditional Bhutanese dress, arrived at Narita International Airport, east of Tokyo, and smiled to a throng of waiting reporters.
In addition to attending a banquet at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Wednesday, the couple are scheduled to visit on Friday an elementary school and other places outside the no-go zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, according to the Foreign Ministry.
The couple will also visit the old capital of Kyoto on Saturday to learn about Japanese traditional culture, according to the ministry.
He is the fifth king of the small Himalayan country, known for its gross national happiness index, which measures the quality of life and personal contentment rather than economic growth.
As part of efforts to maintain peace and be free of big power influence, Bhutan has no diplomatic relations with any of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. It only maintains diplomatic ties with 25 countries and the European Union.
(Mainichi Japan) November 16, 2011http://mdn.mainichi.jp/md...1116p2g00m0dm088000c.htmlBhutan royal couple welcomed by Japan's crown prince
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The king and queen of Bhutan, who are on a visit to Japan that began Tuesday, attended a welcoming ceremony hosted by Crown Prince Naruhito at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Clad in traditional Bhutanese dress, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema were greeted by the prince on behalf of his father Emperor Akihito, currently in hospital for bronchitis. The royal couple are the first state guests that Japan has received since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, according to the Imperial Household Agency.
During conversations following the ceremony, the crown prince thanked the king for holding a special prayer session in a Bhutanese monastery for victims of the March disaster. The prince also relayed a message from the emperor expressing his regret at being unable to welcome the royal couple in person.
The 31-year-old king and 21-year-old queen also exchanged greetings with Prince Akishino and his wife Princess Kiko, as well as Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, among others, at the welcoming ceremony.
They are also scheduled to attend a banquet at the palace in the evening, the agency said.
During their visit through Sunday, the couple are scheduled to visit an elementary school in disaster-struck Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, and the ancient capital of Kyoto.
(Mainichi Japan) November 16, 2011