— Kabwata Cultural Village in Lusaka was this afternoon a hive of activities when it hosted visiting Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko.
The visiting Japanese Royal couple were accompanied by Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkandu Luo to one of the country’s oldest cultural village.
The entourage arrived at the cultural village at 15-30 hours local time.
Tourism and Arts Minister Jean Kapata, her Permanent Secretary Stephen Mwansa, Japanese Ambassador to Zambia Kiyoshi Koinuma, Zambia’s Ambassador to Japan Mwewa Chibesakunda, Lusaka Deputy Mayor Portifer Tembo, and other senior government officials from the Japanese and the host Zambian government received the visiting Royal couple.
They were entertained by a number of Zambia traditional dances and songs including the Likumbi Lyamize cultural group amid tight security by some patriotic Japanese nationals staying in Zambia.
Prince and Princess Akishino later toured stands that displayed a number of handcraft pieces and various chitenje materials at the Village.
The Royal couple which later watched a number of traditional dances in the main arena of the cultural village stayed on for an hour before they left.
Earlier Tourism and Arts Minister Kapata said Zambia and Japan enjoys warm and cordial relations that have continued to exist for many years since Zambia attained her independence in 1964.
Ms. Kapata further said Japan has assisted the Zambian government in key sectors such as health among others.
She cited the Children hospital that was constructed at the University Teaching Hospital as a gift to the Zambian government as part of cementing the bilateral ties between the two countries.
The Minister commended the Japanese Royal couple for choosing to visit Kabwata Cultural Village and urged it to consider visiting other rich tourism heritage sites like the Mighty Victoria Falls when they visit the tourist capital, Livingstone tomorrow.
“I invite Their Imperial Highnesses to explore Zambia and visit the Mighty Victoria Falls including others tourism sites as you go to Livingstone tomorrow.
“ Thank-you very much for choosing Kabwata Cultural Village and l hope you have enjoyed our rich cultural heritage here at the Village. Feel welcome to Zambia, “ Ms. Kapata said.
The Minister said the frequent high profile goodwill visits of leaders from other countries to Zambia are good for the country.
She stated that the recent visit of the Chinese Vice President Dr. Li Yuanchao and the coming of the prince and his wife was good for Zambia especially as the country commemorate the 50 independence jubilee.
The Zambian government has invited the Prince and Princess to be part of the commemoration of this historic occasion and celebration of the Jubilee year.
Prince Akishino 48, and his wife arrived in the country this afternoon at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport aboard a South African plane.
Their Imperial Highnesses are scheduled to leave the country on Wednesday 2nd July and proceed to neigbouring, Tanzania for other important agenda/s.
During their tour of duty in Zambia, the royal couple will call on Acting President Wynter Kabimba, former first republican president Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, tour Livingstone and attend a reception for the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Japan and Zambia.
The Royal Couple will also among other programs engage with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) officials in Zambia.
Meanwhile, Japan has so far spent about K16 million on Japanese cultural grant aid projects in various sectors in Zambia.
The grant has been used to support sectors such as the agriculture, education, transport, and health and infrastructure development, water and sanitation programs and on poverty reduction programmes in rural areas.