Her Imperial Highness Princess Mako of Akishino will arrive in the country on a state visit in the first week of June this year.

Princess Mako of Akishino, 26, is the eldest grandchild of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, and the oldest daughter of Fumihito, Prince Akishino and Kiko, Princess Akishino.

Japanese Ambassador to Bhutan, Kenji Hiramatsu, who was in the country on a two-day visit to discuss the preparations with the government, called on the Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay yesterday.

“The Bhutanese Royal Family and the Japanese Royal Family enjoyed very close friendship for many years,” he said.

Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu said that such state visits by imperial family members are rare and indicate the importance of the bilateral relations of the countries.

The ambassador said that while the details of the visit are in the final stage, Princess has strong interest in visiting historically important places and cultural heritage sites.

While in Bhutan, the Princess will participate in the Japanese cultural events.

Such high profile visits is expected to strengthen a multi-layered bilateral relationship and build cooperation on the international stage and in political-economic, environmental, people-to-people, as well as academic and cultural exchanges.

There are youth exchange programmes for people to people interaction to promote understanding of the each other’s countries. In the past four months, 26 youth have visited Japan.

The first batch of 67 youth as part of government’s overseas employment programme, who will learn Japanese language and work in various industries in Japan, left on April 6. There are today 29 Bhutanese students studying in Japanese universities.

Bhutan and Japan celebrated the 30th anniversary of the diplomatic relations with numerous activities spread across the year last year. Japan contributed about Yen 3 billion for developmental projects and programmes in the country.

Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu said that Japan continues to place importance in supporting Bhutan’s development needs. A delegation from Japan also attended the 13th round table meeting to understand the priorities of the 12th Plan.

His Majesty The King and Her Majesty Gyaltsuen visited Japan from November 15-20, 2011. Their Majesties’ visit to Japan is recognised as having provided great momentum towards the further deepening of the Japan-Bhutan bilateral relationship.

Tshering Palden