Historic visit: Japanese emperor, empress in PH

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Emperor Akihito is welcomed by Philippine president Beningo Aquino on January 26, 2016 at the NInoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko arrived in the Philippines via Japanese Air Force flight JF001 before 3 p.m. on Tuesday (January 26).

They were welcomed by President Benigno Aquino III.

It is the first visit of a reigning Japanese royal to Southeast Asia.

Emperor Akihito, who is a direct descendant of Japan's first emperor, Jimmu, is not involved in government affairs but this trip to the Philippines is a historic one. The state visit marks the 60th year of Philippine-Japanese diplomatic relations.

It is not the first time Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited the country. They first came here as crown prince and princess in 1962.

They will stay in the country until January 30.

In their five-day visit, the emperor and empress will have activities in Manila and visit Caliraya and Los Baños in Laguna. They are also expected to go to memorial sites of Filipino and Japanese veterans.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement that the Philippines is "deeply honored" to welcome the imperial couple.

"Their visit underscores the abiding friendship between the Japanese and Filipino people," said Coloma. "As our country charts the path that leads to sustainable, inclusive growth we are fortunate that Japan is our steadfast partner and ally."