Japan's Crown Prince Fumihito and his wife Princess Kiko arrived in Hanoi on Wednesday for an official visit to Vietnam to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the countries.

It is the couple's first official visit to Vietnam since 1999, when they also traveled to Laos and Thailand. Vietnam extended a formal invitation in early August.

During their six-day visit, the couple is scheduled to meet with the families of former Japanese soldiers who stayed on after World War II to fight for Vietnamese independence.

Japanese Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko board a government plane at Tokyo's Haneda airport on Sept. 20, 2023, for an official trip to Vietnam to attend a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Japan and Vietnam. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

They will attend a welcome ceremony hosted by Vietnamese Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan and an event to mark the anniversary on Thursday before meeting with Vietnamese people who have studied in Japan the next day.

On Saturday, the couple will visit Da Nang in central Vietnam and travel to Hoi An, a historic city that used to have a Japanese settlement. They will also visit My Son Sanctuary, a World Heritage site, the following day before returning to Japan on Monday.

It is the couple's third official overseas trip since the May 2019 ascension of Emperor Naruhito, which made Crown Prince Fumihito -- the emperor's younger brother -- next in line to the throne.

The crown prince and his wife previously visited Poland and Finland in 2019 to commemorate the centenary of diplomatic ties with the two countries, and Britain in May this year to attend the coronation of King Charles III.

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Japan's crown prince, princess to officially visit Vietnam in September