Prince William to start first Japan visit with green tea

AP News
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Posted: Feb 25, 2015 11:30 PM

TOKYO (AP) — Britain's Prince William is set to have afternoon tea, but it will be green served by a master in the Japanese ceremonial art in a traditional tea house.

The Duke of Cambridge is making his first visit to Japan, starting Thursday. His wife Kate, pregnant with the royal couple's second child expected in April, stayed home.

Among the highlights of his trip, through Sunday, when he travels to China, is a visit to a school in the northeastern region of Fukushima, where some areas have been closed off around a nuclear power plant that went into multiple meltdowns four years ago.

William, 33, will also visit other areas devastated by the March 2011 tsunami to show support for the survivors and pay respects to those who died, according to the British Embassy in Tokyo.

The tsunami and the quake that set it off killed about 19,000 people, and displaced tens of thousands, including those whose homes were intact but were contaminated by the radiation spewed from Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.

Japan and Britain have enjoyed friendly relations for decades, and the Japanese public is generally enamored of British royalty, having followed William since a child.

His mother Diana was so popular with the public in Japan, it set off a frenzy called "Diana fever."

Diana visited Japan in 1986 and in 1995. Both times, William's father Prince Charles was almost an afterthought.

During his four-day visit, William will be attending various dinners, including one at a "ryokan," or traditional inn, where he will take a hot spring bath and dine with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, wearing a "yukata" or kimono-style pajamas, according to the communications office for the royal family.

While in Tokyo, he will have lunch with Japanese Emperor Akihito and then tea, presumably brown, with Crown Prince Naruhito.

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Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at twitter.com/yurikageyama