Emperor & Empress at 50th Anniversary of Japanese Ex-Pat Convention

  October 16, 2009 at 6:42 pm by

On October 14, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attended a gathering in Tokyo to mark the 50th anniversary of a convention for Japanese people living abroad. Some 200 people of Japanese descent from 20 counties attended the assembly.

The Emperor stressed the importance of immigrants for helping other countries understand Japan better. He reminded that the history of Japanese emigration had started 141 years ago, when the first Japanese immigrants arrived in Hawaii. Prime Minister Yuko Hatoyama’s message was also read during the gathering.

The first convention took place in 1959 and has been held annually since 1962: it is aimed at strengthening solidarity and promoting cultural and personal exchanges between their countries and Japan. Members of the Imperial Family attend the event every year.

Today, over 2.5 million people of Japanese ancestry live abroad, with the biggest Japanese communities formed in the United States, Brazil, Vanda, Australia and Peru. Most of them maintain close ties with their ancestral land.

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