Saturday, May 26, (Vilnius) – Today Emperor of Japan Akihito with the wife Michiko arrived in Lithuania on a state visit.
The Imperial Family received a festive welcome by President of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus and Mrs. Alma Adamkienë.
At the entrance to the Presidential Palace Courtyard, the Emperor’s cortege was saluted by the Guard of Honor in Lithuanian medieval military uniform.
Emperor of Japan Akihito with the wife Michiko and President Adamkus with Mrs. Alma Adamkienë walked down the red carpet to the sounds of fanfare. The Guard of Honor Orchestra played the Japanese National Anthem and the Lithuanian National Anthem.
After inspecting the Guard of Honor, Japanese Emperor Akihito greeted representatives of the Lithuanian government, members of the delegation and diplomatic corps.
Following the official ceremony of welcome, the Imperial Family of Japan and the Lithuanian President with the First Lady greeted citizens gathered in Daukantas Square.
At the meeting in the President’s Palace, they exchanged presents and state decorations.
President Adamkus presented to Emperor of Japan three medals by the well-known Lithuanian artist Petras Repđys, dedicated to the fundamental events in the history of Lithuania – the first mention of the name of Lithuania in European written sources, the first ruler of Lithuania recognized internationally and the first Lithuanian book published in the State of Lithuania. The Emperor’s wife Michiko was presented with a gilded necklace from amber and silver by jeweler Dalia Varnaitë.
Emperor of Japan presented to Mr. Adamkus a box made in traditional Japanese technique (laquerware, encrustation). Mrs. Alma Adamkienë received a woven scarf with silk from the Imperial cocoonery.
Later on, the Lithuanian President and the Japanese Emperor exchanged decorations. President Adamkus awarded Emperor of Japane with the highest state award of the Republic of Lithuania: the Order of Vytautas the Great with the Golden Chain, which is bestowed on Lithuanian and foreign heads of state and their citizens for exceptional merits to the State of Lithuania.
The Order of Vytautas the Great with the golden collar were awarded to King of Spain Juan Carlos I, Queen of the United Kingdom Elizabeth II and King of the Belgians Albert II, President of Estonia Arnold Ruutel, President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko and other monarchs and presidents.
Her Majesty the Empress was awarded with the Grand Cross of the Order of Vytautas the Great. This Order was awarded to King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, Queen of Denmark Margrethe II and Prince Consort of Denmark Henrik, King of Norway Harald V and Queen Sonja, Queen Sofia of Spain, Queen Paola of Belgium, President of Island Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel, President of the United States George W.Bush and others.
President of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus was awarded with the Highest Order of the Chrysanthemum. This is Japan’s highest order established in 1877 by the Meiji Emperor, awarded mainly to members of Japan’s royal family and foreign royalty or heads of state. The order features a rising sun in the centre, symbolizing the national flag, from which radiates rays of sunlight, wreathed with chrysanthemums and chrysanthemum leaves. This order was awarded to President of the United States Ronald Reagan, King of Spain Juan Carlos I, King of Norway Harald V, Prince of Wales Charles, President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of Hungary Ferenc Mádl.
Mrs. Alma Adamkienë was awarded with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Precious Crown. The first class of the Order of the Precious Crown, the predecessor of the present Order of the Precious Crown, was established in 1888 by Emperor Meiji of Japan. Today, this Order is conferred only for conferment of courtesy decorations for foreigners. The Order is intended for queens, female royal members and spouses of the heads of republics. This decoration was awarded to Jolanta Kwaúnievska, wife of the President of Poland, Dalma Némethy, wife of the President of Hungary.