Japanese royal couple offer sympathy to those impacted by ongoing eruptions

Japanese royal couple offer sympathy to those impacted by ongoing eruptions

MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's day three of the royal visit of Japan's prince and princess.

Prince Akishino and his wife, Princess Kiko, arrived on Oahu Monday to commemorate 150 years since Japanese immigration to the islands began.

On Wednesday, the royal couple visited the Bishop Museum and Kuakini Medical Center.

Kuakini was established by Japanese immigrants and partly funded by two of Japan's emperors. The royal couple was presented with a gift of fabric lei and spent time greeting elderly patients.

The royal couple landed Monday for a whirlwind trip in Hawaii.

At a dinner Tuesday at Washington Place, Prince Akishino offered his deepest sympathy to those affected by Kilauea's eruption.

"Our thoughts are with those in hardship, and with those devoting themselves to relief operations and control. I do hope that the eruption will settle down, and the people in the affected areas can return to their daily lives as soon as possible," Prince Akishino said.

Prior to that, the royals planted a rainbow shower tree in Thomas Square.

"It's a very special, powerful day," said Caldwell at the ceremony Tuesday. "I hope it stands in time as a bridge between our two special places, and a reminder of how special we as a people."

The rainbow shower tree is now Honolulu's official tree.

Other stops earlier in the week included attending the opening of Bishop Museum's newest exhibit honoring Gannenmono, Hawaii's first Japanese plantation workers, the Ehime Maru Memorial and the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.

"Hawaii and Japan have always had this relationship for many many years and generations and I think what this does is it shows that these ties are still very strong," President and CEO of Bishop Museum Melanie Ide said.

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