28 Jun 2005

Japanese royal couple welcomed on Saipan

2:09 pm on 28 June 2005

The Japanese royal couple has been welcomed on the US island of Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas.

The visit is the first of its kind and co-incides with the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

Saipan saw a key battle in the defeat of Japan by the US military.

Our Guam correspondent, Rlene Steffy, says a large crowd welcomed Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

"About a thousand people gathered at a baseball field which is right past the airport where they cordoned off the area so that people could participate in the drive-by and wave."

The royal couple will today visit memorials dedicated to American and local war dead as well as Japanese.