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 FEATURES Saturday, 11 December 2004 
 

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Emperor Of Japan Invites Kalina To Tea

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Premier Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha is leaving tomorrow on an official visit to Japan. He is the first Bulgarian Prime Minister to set foot on the Land of the Rising Sun in the past thirty-five years. The last Bulgarian Premier who visited Japan was Todor Zhivkov. During his visit to Tokyo, Premier Saxe-Coburg Gotha and his wife Dona Margarita will be received by the Imperial Family, and attend a special tea ceremony, held in the Emperor's palace. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have also invited to the four-hour ceremony Premier Saxe-Coburg Gotha's daughter Kalina, it transpired yesterday. She will only attend the tea ceremony in the palace. She and her husband Kittin Munos will travel from Madrid to Tokyo on their own expense, for they are not on the official delegation visiting Japan. The Premier is accompanied in the Land of the Rising Sun by Deputy Prime Minister Lydia Shouleva, Deputy Foreign Minister Ivan Petkov, Government Spokesman Dimiter Tsonev and Bulgaria's Ambassador to Japan Blagovest Sendov. Princess Kalina's last visit to Japan was in May of 2003, when she became patron of the International Rose and Gardening Exhibition on the initiative of her hosts. Then, the major topic at the forum was Bulgaria. During last year's exhibition, Kalina met members of the Imperial Family. She also had talks with head with societies promoting friendship with Bulgaria, Japanese intellectuals, related to Bulgaria and others. Premier Saxe-Coburg Gotha has met the Japanese Imperial Family several times before. Their first meeting took place in Spain, back at the time when Akihito and Michiko were still a Crown Prince and Princess. Ten years ago, the two families encountered in Madrid, when the Emperor of Japan and his wife were invitees of King of Spain Juan Carlos'. Premier Saxe-Coburg- Gotha and Dona Margarita will be visiting Tokyo at the invitation of Japan's Premier Junichiro Koizumi. The Bulgarian Prime Minister will open a Bulgarian-Japanese business forum in the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Deputy Premier Lydia Shouleva will present the general report at the forum. The Premier, on the other hand, will deliver a lecture for representatives of the Japanese business community and diplomatic spheres. During his stay in Japan, PM Saxe-Coburg Gotha will also pay a visit to Japan's ancient capital Kyoto. In Tokyo, he will visit a sumo school, where he will meet with Bulgarian sumo wrestler Kaloyan.

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