TOKYO – The Japanese emperor and empress received the Argentine president and his wife on Saturday at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
The meeting is Mauricio Macri’s last engagement of his Japan visit before returning to Argentina, along with Emperor Akihito’s first public appearance since May 16, when he had canceled his agenda owing to bad health.
Akihito, who seemed to have recovered from signs of fever and cold, and Empress Michiko received Macri and his wife, Juliana Awada, at the palace’s entrance, after which they had a short meeting inside.
Akihito’s first and only visit to Argentina was in 1997, when he met with then President Carlos Menem.
Saturday’s meeting is also the first time that Akihito, 83, made a public appearance after the Japanese government approved a plan on Friday to devise a law so his son, 57-year-old Prince Naruhito, can accede the throne.
In 2016, Akihito had announced his desire to abdicate, citing his deteriorating health, after which the government had proposed to devise a special legislation for the abdication, without amending the 1947 law which has no provision for a ruling emperor to abdicate.
The Japanese monarch, who ascended the throne in 1989, has been in ill health in recent years.
In 2003, he was treated for prostate cancer, and in 2012, he underwent a coronary bypass surgery.