Japan's Princess Mako starts Central America visit

Princess Mako in a University of Leicester video.
Princess Mako in a University of Leicester video.PHOTO: YOUTUBE

SAN SALVADOR (AFP) - Japan's Princess Mako, granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, began on Thursday a visit to Central America taking in El Salvador and Honduras, to mark eight decades of diplomatic relations between the region and her country.

The 24-year-old Princess arrived in San Salvador late on Wednesday, according to a Japanese official.

She was to start the visit by seeing Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez at his residence before holding a private meeting with President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a statement said.

During her El Salvador stay, she also will visit a theater and casino complex in the second city of Santa Ana, then a Unesco-listed Mayan archeological site called Joya de Ceren and a university campus featuring Japanese-funded research projects.

On Sunday, Princess Mako will leave for Honduras. She is due to be back in Japan on Dec 12.

It is the Princess' first official trip abroad without other members of Japan's imperial family.

She most recently spent the last year in Britain, quietly completing a masters degree in art museum and gallery studies at the University of Leicester.

She is to officially graduate in January.

Japan opened formal diplomatic ties with El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica in 1935.