Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko formally welcomed Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at the Imperial Palace Wednesday morning, June 3.

Crown Prince Naruhito and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were also present during the welcome ceremony, which was moved indoors due to rain.

The Philippine and Japanese national anthems were played inside the Grand Hall where Aquino was introduced to Japan’s top officials including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the House of Councillors, the Chief Justice and members of the Cabinet.

During the state call held at the Audience Room, Aquino thanked Emperor Akihito for Japan’s assistance to the Philippines in the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda.

The Emperor thanked Aquino for accepting his invitation to visit Japan while Aquino thanked the Emperor for the hospitality.

Akihito recalled his previous meeting with Aquino during his past visit to Japan.

Aquino was conferred Japan’s highest decoration, the “Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum”.

Aquino also conferred on the Emperor the Order of Lakandula with the rank of Supremo in recognition of his role in the promotion of Filipino-Japanese relations.

In addition, Emperor Akihito expressed his remorse to President Aquino for the country’s atrocities during World War II.