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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Alexy II Visits Japan

TOKYO -- The head of the Orthodox Church arrived Friday for a weeklong visit in Japan, where he will meet the emperor and prime minister and appoint the top representative for Japan's autonomous Orthodox Christian Church.

After arriving on Japan's northern Hokkaido island, Patriarch Alexy II said he hoped his visit would strengthen ties between Japan and Russia, said Baba Noboru, an Orthodox priest.

On Sunday, during the Tokyo leg of his visit, the patriarch was expected to appoint Ikuo Nushiroi as the leader of Japan's Orthodox church.

Alexy was also scheduled to meet with Emperor Akihito on Wednesday and with new Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori the following day.

He will return to Russia on Friday.