TOKYO, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese government confirmed Tuesday that Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will make a state visit to Britain this spring at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II.
Preparations will be made for their visit between April and June, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference in Tokyo, revealing o further details.
It will be the first overseas trip by the imperial couple since Emperor Naruhito's enthronement in May.
"Exchanges between the imperial family and the British royal family have played a critical role in the development of friendly ties between the two nations," Suga said.
"We will make necessary arrangements for a visit in the second quarter of this year," he said.
According to local media, Japanese people hold high expectations for the new diplomatic visit as Naruhito is the first Japanese emperor to have studied abroad at Britain's University of Oxford while Empress Masako was Harvard and Oxford-educated.
Former Emperor Akihito and former Empress Michiko paid a state visit to Britain in 1998.