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Crown prince leaves to attend Mandela memorial service

10 Comments

Crown Prince Naruhito on Monday left for Johannesburg aboard a government aircraft to attend a memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela on Tuesday.

The crown prince will be among nearly 70 heads of state and dignitaries attending either Tuesday's memorial service or a state funeral next Sunday for Mandela who died on Dec 5 at the age of 95.

It will be the first time for a member of Japan's imperial family to attend the funeral of a non-royal person overseas, according to Japanese media. The crown prince met Mandela when he made a state visit to Japan in 1995.

Former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will represent the government, Fuji TV reported. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida are unlikely to attend the funeral as they will be hosting a three-day Japan-ASEAN leaders' summit on Tokyo from Dec 13.

After the national memorial at a Johannesburg stadium on Tuesday, Mandela's body will lie in state at the Union Buildings, the seat of government in Pretoria, from Wednesday to Friday, followed by his funeral and burial in Qunu next Sunday.

Among those who have already indicated that they will be coming to South Africa are U.S. President Barack Obama and his two predecessors, George W Bush and Bill Clinton.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will also travel to Johannesburg for the memorial service.

Other leaders and dignitaries who have confirmed that they are coming include French President Francois Hollande, Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff, Cyprus' Parliamentary Speaker, Yiannakis Omirou, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Britain's Prince Charles.

King Willem-Alexander and Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans will attend on behalf of the Netherlands.

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10 Comments
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Good on him. Proof that the Imperial Family often think more of the people and of humanity than the government with actual power.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

@ smith

Proof that the Imperial Family often think more of the people and of humanity than the government with actual power.

I'm no expert on the Japanese constitution, but I'd be surprised if he isn't going because the government told him to.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I'm no expert on the Japanese constitution, but I'd be surprised if he isn't going because the government told him to.

You are correct.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

With the passing of Nelson Mandela into the pages of history; all of the worlds leaders are coming out to pay their respect. As much of the "Developed" world, the old colonial powers which include the British and the Dutch, pay their respect; what of the leaders in Africa. What leaders of the African continent are gathering to pay homage to Mandela? As for the lives of the workers in South Africa, how has their lives changed since the fall of Apartheid, and how is the current crop of leaders in South Africa measure up to the standards of Mandela? Which way forward for the total liberation of the South African working class?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Rest in Peace Mr. Mandela. The world will miss you. Glad to see so many going to pay their respect. We can all learn from him.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Kristianna

I wonder if Mugabe is going to the funeral?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Good for him

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Kristianna Thomas, thanks for the interesting questions. The politician most directly tied to Mandela's legacy, South Africa's current president, has definitely been speaking up for Mandela's legacy. It's not realistic to expect something from all the continent's leaders, since some of the others are tied down with other problems--see Kenya's attempt to have a functioning government while their top officials are on trial in the ICC in the Netherlands(?). What do you think about 100% of the leaders going to trial at the ICC being Africans? Maybe the "old colonial powers" have not found post-colonialism favorable?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bravo.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japanese PM and Foreign Minister will host ASEAN. And Emperor is not in Japan. But Govt wanted to send someone better than acabinet member. So, Crown Prince (future Emnperor) was either recruited or volunteered, I think. Hopew Crown Princess can attend to give respect to Mandela.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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