President Abdullah Gül paid an official visit to Japan between June 3 and 8, 2008 at the invitation of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Akihito.
On June 5, Mr. and Mrs. Gül met tête-à-tête with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko in the Imperial Palace. Then Mr. Gül went to the National Press Centre to deliver a speech, and met with executives from some of Japan's leading companies in Tokyo as well as the Governor of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Mr. Koji Tanami.
Mr. Gül allocated part of his schedule to cultural activities and accordingly, he attended the opening ceremony of an exhibition entitled "Centuries of Turkish/Japanese Friendship," and he was joined by Mrs. Hayrünnisa Gül for the opening of the exhibition entitled "Cycle of Fashion: Local Female Attire in the Ottoman Era."
On the third of his visit, Mr. Gül met with the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the members of the Turkish/Japanese Interparliamentary Friendship Group. Later, Mr. Gül visited the Cultural Centre in Tokyo, where he met Turkish citizens living in Japan as well as Volga Tatars who had emigrated from Kazan.
On June 7, Mr. Gül travelled to Kushimoto to attend a ceremony in the Turkish Museum and Ertuğrul War Cemetery Monument for the commemoration of the Turkish marine soldiers who had died in a tragic accident in the past. On the last day of his visit, Mr. Gül attended a working lunch hosted by the Kansai Economic Federation (Kankeiren) in Japan's industrial city of Osaka and met investors there. Following his talks in Osaka, Mr. Gül returned to Turkey on June 8.
Mr. Gül's visit to Japan was unprecedented, as it was the first time a Turkish president had ever visited Japan.