VANCOUVER — The Emperor and Empress of Japan were guests at a farewell reception today as they prepared to end their 12-day tour of Canada.

 

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko walked a rope-line of hundreds of delighted spectators on their way to the official event at Vancouver’s new waterfront convention centre.

 

After the reception, the Japanese royal couple was to board a plane to Hawaii for a two-day stopover before returning home.

 

As Crown Prince, Akihito first visited Canada in 1953, and at this morning’s reception he was introduced to several people he met during his first visit to Vancouver.

The Emperor and Empress also met International Trade Minister Stockwell Day, who will see them off at Vancouver’s airport, B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and former trade minister David Emerson.

The tour featured stops in Ottawa, Toronto, Victoria and Vancouver.