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His Royal Highness The Duke of York visited Japan to speak at a conference on “Rejuvenating UK-Japan relations for the 21st century”, jointly organised by the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security (RUSI) and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, held in Tokyo from 30 September - 1 October 2013.
The Duke was joined at the conference by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who spoke on the UK and Japan’s unique and strengthening partnership during this year’s 400th anniversary of UK-Japan relations. In his keynote address, Prime Minister Abe said:
We are very honoured to welcome His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, The Duke of York today. His attendance is particularly significant as we advance the development of Japan-UK bilateral relations. I believe that it is fitting for us to call the Japan-UK bilateral relationship a natural “a priori” partnership, insofar as it evolved organically, combining the two nations. I would like to state my eagerness for Japan and the United Kingdom to exchange knowledge and share experiences with each other and walk forward together, as partners who jointly accept responsibility for world peace and stability.
Prior to the conference, The Duke met with Prime Minister Abe and passed a letter of congratulations for Tokyo’s selection for hosting the 2020 Olympic games.
The Duke also called on His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Naruhito and made a working visit to JR Central’s Tokyo Station to examine Japan’s infrastructure engineering and simulator training facilities for Shinkansen bullet train drivers. The Duke was given a tour of the office by Mr Yoshiyuki Kasai, JR Central Chairman, and invited inside the cockpit of N700A (JR Central’s latest Shinkansen train).
The visit coincided with the Tokaido Shinkansen’s 49th anniversary to the day since its launch in 1964 and The Duke also visited a monument on the platform, built to commemorate Mr Shinji Sogo, the 4th President of the Japan National Railways who played a significant role in the creation of the Tokaido Shinkansen.