Belgian King Philippe and Queen Mathilde visiting Japan

Belgium's King Philippe and Queen Mathilde are in Japan on an official visit to mark 150 years of ties between the countries.

They were welcomed Tuesday by Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at an outdoor ceremony at the Imperial Palace on an overcast fall day.

Philippe and Mathilde also greeted Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako.

The Belgian royal couple arrived Monday and will stay until Saturday. Philippe also met with Japanese business leaders Tuesday and is expected to meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his stay.

The 56-year-old Belgian king ascended to the throne in 2013 after the abdication of his father, King Albert II.

Earlier this year, the 82-year-old Akihito indicated his desire to abdicate, but that is pending necessary legislation.