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Japan state visit to UK will go ahead despite election

  • June 4, 2024
  • 2 min read
Japan state visit to UK will go ahead despite election

A state visit to the UK by the Japanese emperor and empress will go ahead later in the month, Buckingham Palace has announced. There has been speculation that it was going to be postponed because of the general election on, 4th July.

The visit will be from the 25th – 27th June and will include traditional highlights. These include a state banquet hosted by the king and a carriage parade on the Mall. It will be the first state visit in modern times to be taking place at the same time as an election campaign.

State visits take place upon the government’s advice while the king host events as the head of state. These diplomatic showcases often involve senior leaders, which would prompt questions about possibly delaying them to avoid an overlap with political campaign. But this time, the visit of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will not be postponed.

Buckingham Palace has revealed that the visit will be “adapted” as a result of the general election but did not reveal any specific changes. The state banquet would be the centrepiece of such visits, including speeches and greetings from the king which in recent times have been in the language of the guests. The PM, foreign secretary, and leader of the opposition would all be expected to attend.

The banquet will be on, 25th June, and the BBC’s head-to-head debate between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer will be the following day in Nottingham. A spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said that the arrival of ministers at state visit events has not been confirmed yet.

The last time there was the potential for a clash between a general election and a state visit was in 2017 when the arrival of the king of Spain was rearranged. This will be the first from Japan to the UK since 1998 with one in 2020 cancelled due to the pandemic.

The royal family of Japan represent a nation that is a crucial trade and defence partner and will be welcomed with a guard of honour followed by a carriage procession.

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