OTTAWA, July 4 (UPI) -- Japanese Emperor Akihito and his wife Empress Michiko have arrived in Ottawa as part of a 12-day tour, an official says.
Canadian International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda said Japan's 125th hereditary emperor arrived in Ottawa Friday and it appeared he was enjoying the first Canadian visit by a member of the Japanese monarchy, Toronto's Globe and Mail reported Saturday.
"It was very awesome," said Oda, who is Japanese-Canadian. "It was quite humbling to see them coming down the stairs. They're very soft-spoken people. You could tell by the way he shook our hands, he was pleased to be here."
Japan Studies Association President Ken Coates said the visit by the emperor, who rarely travels outside of Japan, represents an opportunity to alter Japan's outlook on Canada.
"Japan, as do most countries, has quite a limited view of what Canada is," Coates said. "It tends to be, 'Let's go see some moose, some Mounties and some mountains.' So this is a marvelous opportunity."
The National Post said Michiko's tour will also include a two-day visit to Hawaii.