Imperial couple leaves Oahu for Big Island


POSTED: Thursday, July 16, 2009

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan left Oahu this morning for the Big Island as they conclude their three-day trip to Hawaii.


The imperial couple’s plane left Hickam Air Force Base about 10 a.m. for the short flight to Kona Airport. On the Big Island,  they will visit Parker Ranch for a reception and paniolo performance.


Before leaving Oahu, they spent about 10 minutes in the VIP lounge of Hickam Base Operations with Gov. Linda Lingle, Adm. Timothy Keating, commander of U.S. Pacific Forces, and Toshio Kunikata, counsel general of Japan. The couple then greeted and thanked the security detail who worked during their two days on Oahu.


The emperor and empress arrived on Oahu Tuesday afternoon and visited Kapiolani Park. Yesterday, they places a wreath at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, attended a lunch with the governor at Washington Place, and were honored at a banquet at the Hilton Hawaiian Village last night.


They are scheduled to leave Kona this afternoon, heading back to Japan after a two-week trip to Canada and Hawaii.