German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets Japanese Emperor and prime minister on her first visit to the country since 2008. Rough cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION German Chancellor Angela Merkel met Japan's Emperor Akihito and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday (March 9) during her first visit to Japan since 2008. Akihito greeted Merkel with a handshake and a smile at the Emperor's palace in central Tokyo. Merkel's visit to meet Akihito was followed by a meeting with Abe, which saw the two walk around a museum displaying historical Japanese artwork. Merkel, in a speech earlier in the day, referred to a 1985 speech by the late German president Richard von Weizsaecker in which he called the end of World War Two in Europe a "day of liberation" and said those who closed their eyes to the past were "blind to the present". The speech reminded Japan on Monday of the need to squarely confront its wartime past but also signalled that neighbouring countries must do their part to achieve reconciliation. The reminder comes as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is preparing to issue a statement to mark the 70th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War Two, the legacy of which still plagues Tokyo's ties with China and South Korea. Merkel is expected to visit a factory on Tuesday (March 10) and tour the Tokyo area to mark the end of her two-day tour. She is due to leave the same day.