Japanese emperor heads to Vietnam for first time

Japan’s emperor left for Vietnam on Tuesday to meet families of Japanese soldiers sent there by his father more than seven decades earlier during World War II.

The 83-year-old Akihito and his wife, Michiko, are making their first visit to the country, the latest in a series of trips to former battlegrounds.

“It is our hope that our visit to Vietnam will contribute to the further development of the mutual understanding and friendly relations between our two countries,” Akihito said at Tokyo’s Haneda airport.

Akihito and Michiko are scheduled to visit Hanoi and Hue, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

On Thursday, they are set to meet with family members of some of the Japanese soldiers who stayed in Vietnam after WWII.

Many of the 700 soldiers joined forces with Vietnamese revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh in his fight for independence from colonial ruler France.

They were ordered to…

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