TOKYO – Princess Mako, granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, left for Paraguay on Tuesday to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the start of Japanese immigration to the South American country.
The 24-year-old Mako, daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, is set to speak at the commemorative ceremony to be held on Sept. 9 and is also expected to meet the descendents of Japanese immigrants to Paraguay, according to the Imperial Household Agency.
She is also likely to visit the famous Iguazu Falls before returning to Japan on Sept. 16.
This will be Mako’s second solo official visit abroad, after she traveled to El Salvador and Honduras in December last year to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the two countries.
The first wave of Japanese immigrants came to Paraguay in 1936, and there are currently around 10,000 Nikkei’s – as descendents of the Japanese are called – in this Latin American country.
The first such group, comprising some hundred families, settled in an agricultural locality called La Colmena, 130 km (81 miles) from the capital Asuncion.
Earlier in 2006, Mako’s father, Prince Akishino (second in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne, after his brother Naruhito) also visited Paraguay on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the arrival of Japanese families to this Southern Cone country.