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Crown prince to visit France in Sept. to mark diplomatic ties

Crown Prince Naruhito (Pool photo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito will make a nine-day trip to France from Sept. 7 to commemorate 160 years of diplomatic ties, the government said Tuesday.

Initial plans by the Imperial Household Agency for Crown Princess Masako to accompany her husband at the invitation of France were shelved due to a scheduling conflict.

The crown princess, who has long battled a stress-related illness, has not accompanied her husband overseas since July 2015 when they visited the South Pacific kingdom of Tonga for a coronation event.

During his visit through Sept. 15, the crown prince will attend the Japonismes 2018 event, a Japan-themed cultural event that started in July in Paris and other cities, and watch a Kabuki performance by a group including actor Nakamura Shido.

The crown prince will also have the chance to take part in lighting up the Eiffel Tower.

The crown prince will visit a textile museum in Lyon as well as a winery and advanced science research facility in other locations.

While the crown prince visited France when he was studying at Britain's Oxford University, it will be his first official visit to the country. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko made an official trip to France in 1994.

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