Royal couple arrives on Oahu
Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko arrived at Hickam Air Force Base just before 3 p.m. on their first visit to Honolulu in 15 years.
The royal couple was met by Gov. Linda Lingle and Adm. Timothy Keating, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, who presented them with lei upon their arrival.
Dozens of people attended the brief greeting including dignitaries, members of the Japanese Consulate and a military color guard carrying the American, Japanese and Hawaiian flags.
A hot summer sun beat down on the tarmac outside the Hickam Air Force Base Operations Building where the couple deplaned and were greeted. Military personnel from all branches of the service lined the red carpet as they proceeded to their car where they were whisked away in a convoy of police and other security.
The Japanese royal couple will spend two nights in Honolulu before flying to the Big Island on Thursday morning for a day trip and returning that evening to Japan.
Their Hawaii visit comes after an 11-day trip to Canada.
Also in the welcoming party at Hickam were state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, Rep.
Calvin Say and Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.
The emperorís first stop in Honolulu, a visit to Kapiolani Park scheduled for 3:30 p.m., will also be his only public appearance.
The emperor will visit a shower tree at Kapiolani that he planted in 1960 when he was the crown prince.
The tree the emperor planted is in the triangular parcel bordered by Kalakaua Avenue and Poni Moi Road, near Dillingham Fountain.
Police will be blocking traffic along the route of the emperorís motorcade and have warned drivers to be prepared for delays today through Thursday, when the emperor departs Honolulu.
Some 300 people are expected to attend the Kapiolani event, though that number could be lower if logistics for getting there prove too difficult.
The emperor will not address the crowd, but officials said the 75-year-old will probably greet attendees by shaking hands and posing for photos.
Tomorrow, three private events are scheduled. In the morning, the emperor will lay a wreath at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl. The emperor and empress will then go to Washington Place for a luncheon with the governor in the state dining room. Then, in the evening, the emperor will attend the 50th anniversary dinner of the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation, which promotes better understanding between the United States and Japan by offering scholarships to students.