Their Imperial Highnesses Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko of Japan visited Finland on 2–5 July 2019. The Crown Prince and Crown Princess were hosted on Wednesday 3 July at Kultaranta by the President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö and Mrs Jenni Haukio.
“Japan and Finland have many things in common,” said President Niinistö in his address to the Crown Prince and Crown Princess. He pointed out that while compared to Japanese culture, Finnish culture may be much younger, it shared a similar ethos: “Let me give one example: trust and reliability. In the 1990s, when Finland was facing grave economic challenges, Japan never lost her trust in us. It made us feel grateful and proud.”
“Both our nations hold literature in high regard. Your poetry and literature are well known and widely read in Finland. In fact, I am myself currently reading a novel by Murakami.”
“We also share a love of sports. We are eagerly looking forward to the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, and at least some of the older members of the present company, such as me, can still remember the previous Tokyo Olympics of 1964,” Niinistö said. “I truly hope that you will enjoy your visit in Finland.”
In his address, Crown Prince Akishino thanked President Niinistö for the invitation to visit Finland to mark the centenary of the diplomatic relations between Finland and Japan.
“In recent years, the distance between our two countries has grown even closer than before, thanks to the increased number of direct flight routes, and, in addition to cultural exchange, to active collaboration in the fields of technology, the environment and design, as well, which gives me particular pleasure,” the Crown Prince continued.
“I wish from the bottom of my heart that the dialogue between our countries will continue to improve and that our friendship will grow even stronger over the next 100 years.”
Culture and nature
During their four-day visit, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess explored Finnish culture, landmarks, nature and healthcare. On Tuesday, their programme included visits at the National Museum of Finland, Ateneum Art Museum as well as Helsinki Cathedral. On Wednesday, in addition to the Kultaranta visit, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess laid a wreath at Hietaniemi Cemetery and visited the city of Turku, where they toured Turku Castle and Turku Cathedral.
On Thursday, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess visited the National Archives of Finland to view documents of early diplomatic relations between Finland and Japan. The Crown Prince is also to visited the Fallkulla Domestic Animal Farm, while the Crown Princess visited New Children’s Hospital and the Oodi Central Library. In the afternoon, Their Imperial Highnesses learned about Finland’s maternity and child healthcare services at the Iso Omena maternity clinic as well as visited the Fiskars Village.
Crown Prince and Crown Princess’s programme during the last day included visits at Seurasaari Island and Ainola, the home of Aino and Jean Sibelius in Järvenpää.
This was the Crown Prince’s first official overseas visit since he assumed his current title. The Crown Prince and Crown Princess arrived to Finland from Poland. Akishino became the Crown Prince in May, following Emperor Akihito’s abdication and the enthronement of Akihito’s eldest son Naruhito as the Emperor of Japan.