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  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Official Arrival of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan

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Official Arrival of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan

Rideau Hall, Monday, July 6, 2009

It gives me, my husband Jean-Daniel Lafond, and our daughter Marie-Éden great pleasure to welcome Their Majesties to Rideau Hall.

In fact, I would add that in this case, the pleasure is twofold.

First, we cannot imagine a greater honour than the presence of Their Majesties in Canada to mark the 80th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Canada. Japan matters to Canada!

This visit also gives us the opportunity to highlight the numerous and lasting ties between our peoples that have overcome the conflicts and challenges that cast a shadow over the last century.

Second, neither this country nor this residence are strangers to you, Your Majesty, because in 1953, as crown prince, You visited Canada en route to the United Kingdom to attend the coronation of Elizabeth II.

At that time, You travelled across Canada from west to east, from Victoria to Montréal, stopping in Vancouver, Kamloops, Calgary, Moose Jaw, Regina, Winnipeg, Fort William, Sudbury, Toronto, Niagara Falls, Ottawa and Montebello along the way, and I have been told that it was Your first visit outside of Your native Japan.

It was my predecessor, the Right Honourable Charles Vincent Massey, who welcomed You to this very place where You find yourself once again.

Moreover, we are pleased that, joining us today as a reminder of that historic occasion, is Mrs. Grace Tomiko Furuya, the aide de camp in charge of His Majesty’s first visit to Canada.

Our sincerest wish is that the memories that Their Majesties gather over the next few days will be added to those that His Majesty has kept from that visit, with our assurance that, as the Japanese-inspired proverb says, “No road is long with good company.”

For indeed, Your Majesties, you are among friends here in Canada, as the many and varied trade, cultural and academic ties that continue to multiply between our two countries—separated only by the Pacific Ocean—can attest.

My husband and I, along with the people of Canada, hope that your presence here in Canada in this year of celebration of our friendship will open the door to infinite opportunities for sharing with Japan, to which we are forever bound in our hearts and in solidarity.

Long live the friendship between Canada and Japan!

Long live Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan!