From the Stars and Stripes archives

Queen Elizabeth ends six-day visit to Japan

Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth wave as they board the plane for the trip home from Tokyo in May, 1975.


By HAL DRAKE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 14, 1975

TOKYO — Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were bowed out of Tokyo International Airport Monday in simple but impressive ceremonies that marked the end of a historic six-day visit to Japan.

The first reigning British monarch to visit Japan boarded a British Airways DC8 with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, and departed at 4:15 p.m. Her trip here returned a visit Emperor Hirohito made to Britain in 1973 and was marred by only one thing — a rail strike that forced her to fly to the ancient capital of Kyoto instead of going there via the high-speed Shinkansen.

Before leaving, the royal couple went to the grounds of the magnificent Gehinkan, the recently refurbished state guest house that was designed in the style of the Palace of Versailles. There they planted an oak sapling from the ruling family estate at Windsor Castle to commemorate their visit and exchanged farewell handshakes with the Emperor and Empress.

Their visit here was a friendly and peaceful one, with none of the elaborate security measures that attended President Ford's trip here last November. As they left, however, a crowd of about 1,500 was confined to an elevated ramp about 200 feet from the plane — a nod to the experienced belief of police and airport officials that if an attack is made on a prominent person, it would likely be with a sharp instrument at close range. The ramp was festooned with Union Jack and Rising Sun flags that fluttered above a blue-lettered streamer reading, "Sayonara, Her Majesty the Queen."

The Queen and her consort arrived May 7 and went through a triumphal motorcade and a round of tours and state dinners before flying to Kyoto and touring western Japan, returning to Tokyo only a few hours before their departure. They rode back by the Shinkansen, which striking Japan National Railway trainmen had offered to run for the Queen Saturday. The Japanese government, which manages JNR, briefly involved the visiting monarch in a domestic dispute by saying they would not place her "under the management of striking unionists" whose walkout violated a law forbidding government workers to strike.

Dignitaries who saw the royal couple off included Princess Chichibu, widow of the emperor's brother, and British Ambassador to Japan Sir Fred Warner and Lady Warner.

Queen Elizabeth walks to the plane at the conclusion of her visit to Japan.

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