New Delhi, Nov 30 :
Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko arrived here Saturday evening on a six-day state visit and were received by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur at the Air Force Station at Palam.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid will be the minister-in-waiting for the imperial couple during their visit to New Delhi and Chennai.
The visit by the Japanese imperial couple is the first since the emperor ascended the throne. They had visited India 53 years ago in November-December 1960 for their honeymoon as the crown prince and princess of Japan.
Former Japanese prime minister Yoshiro Mori is accompanying the 50-member delegation.
The prime minister had thrice earlier set aside protocol to receive visiting dignitaries – then US president George W. Bush in 2006, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in 2006, and US President Barack Obama in 2010.
The visit by the emperor, a rare occurrence, is symbolic of the “extraordinary maturity of relations” between India and Japan and would stress on the people-to-people and cultural manifestation of their ties, the external affairs ministry said. (IANS)