Jiji PressTOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Emperor met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Thursday.
The Emperor and Li shook hands when the Chinese premier arrived at the palace. Li told the Emperor that it was an honor to meet him.
In response, the Emperor said he “hopes that Japan and China will further boost their relations of friendship and goodwill,” according to the Imperial Household Agency.
The two then spoke through an interpreter for about 20 minutes.
The Emperor recalled his 1992 trip to China, saying that he remembers fondly the warm welcome he received from people there.
Li replied that the Chinese people still remember the Emperor’s visit very well, as it was an extremely important event for bilateral ties. The Emperor expressed gratitude to Li over China’s plan to give Japan a pair of crested ibises as a symbol of improved ties.
The Emperor mentioned that the crested ibis was once an extinct species in Japan.
It was the Emperor’s first meeting with a senior Chinese official since June 2010, when he met with Li’s predecessor, Wen Jiabao.
Li met separately with the heads of both chambers of the Diet.
Tadamori Oshima, speaker of the House of Representatives, highly evaluated the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting between Li and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Oshima told Li that the talks were very timely and provided a sense of security and assurance to Asia and the world.