Royal visit to slow traffic on Okinawa
January 23, 2004
NAHA, Okinawa — Okinawa police announced traffic restrictions for this weekend’s Japanese royal family visit.
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko are expected to arrive in Naha on Friday to celebrate the opening of a national theater, located near Camp Kinser’s west boundary.
The Kumiodori National Theater, the only national theater outside Tokyo and Osaka, was built to preserve and further promote Kumiodori, an Okinawan version of traditional Japanese plays.
Okinawa police have assigned 4,500 troops to patrol the island, supplemented by an additional 3,000 troops from various districts on the mainland, for the royal couples’ four-day tour.
Traffic will be intermittenly restricted from noon to 4 p.m. Friday on Highway 331 between Naha International Airport and Peace Prayer Park in Itoman. Traffic also will be partially restricted on Highway 58 between Naha and the theater, in Urasoe, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
On Saturday, portions of Highways 58 and 330 will be closed for 15-minute intervals from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. between Naha and Urasoe.
The royal couple will visit Miyako and Ishigaki islands Sunday and Monday before returning to Tokyo.