By Josepha Jabo
On Tuesday, June 12, 2012, at 7:35am, His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino and Her Imperial Princess Akishino arrived at Entebbe Airport en route from London, UK on board a British Airways flight. The Prince is the second-born son to His Imperial Majesty the Emperor Akihito and is second in line to the Japanese throne.
The 4-day official visit (June 12-15) is of special importance to Japan because it is the royal couple’s first visit to Africa. 2012 is also a unique year for Uganda because, on October 9, 2012 Uganda will mark 50 years of Independence making it Uganda’s Jubilee year. At the airport entrance, the royal couple paused for a moment to enjoy entertainment from traditional Ugandan dancers whose performance they appreciated by smiling and clapping their hands. Thereafter, the royal couple was whisked off in a convoy of vehicles (waving to journalists as they went) to Serena Hotel. The historic event is being covered by media houses both local and foreign.
At 3:17pm the royal couple arrived at the Uganda Museum. They were welcomed warmly by Kitante Primary School children and boy scouts from Uganda Scouts Association who waved Ugandan and Japanese flags, Uganda’s Tourism Minister Hon. Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, Rose Mwanga Commissioner for Museums and Monuments, Lukia Nakadama State Minister for Culture, Wasswa Birigwa Uganda’s Ambassador to Japan and diplomats. The royal couple toured the Uganda Museum and visited the Buganda Hut, one of the 16 tribal huts at the museum. Again, the royal couple and their entourage were entertained by traditional Ugandan dancers and entertainers.
Thereafter, the royal couple proceeded to Phenix Logistics Ltd factory in Bugolobi Industrial area. The Uganda-Japanese jointly owned factory, produces cotton garments from Ugandan cotton which are exported to Japan and also sold in Uganda’s local market. During the course of their factory tour the royal couple visited the factory’s organic cotton store, three spinning mills, the knitting section, dying section, garmenting section and the embroidery section. Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde arrived at the factory during the course of the tour and delivered a speech to the royal couple at the conclusion of the tour welcoming them warmly to Uganda. “We thank you for choosing Uganda out of over 54 countries in Africa to be your first destination in Africa. Japan is the land of the rising sun and the Japanese strong belief in themselves is admired all over Africa. Their hard work that has made Japan to be one of the leading economies in the world has been a shining example in Africa. Japan overcame the nuclear tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki including various earthquakes to become prosperous. We appreciate Japan for opening up to Africa generally and Uganda in particular and supporting us to develop our country and become prosperous,” the Trade Minister said.