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Last Updated: Friday, 4 July, 2003, 23:37 GMT 00:37 UK
Motorcade scare for Japan emperor
Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko
The royal couple continued the visit after the incident
Police in Japan have arrested a man who tried to stop a motorcade carrying the Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko during their visit to the northern island of Hokkaido.

They said the 35-year-old man tried to drive his minicar into the royal convoy but was intercepted by a police escort on a motorcycle.

Officials said the royal couple were unhurt, but their car was damaged by the police motorbike.

"A police motorbike scraped the vehicle as it tried to block the suspect's car," a police spokeswoman was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

Police said the motive behind the incident was unclear.

"The most important thing is that the emperor and empress were not injured, but we hope police will investigate the event closely," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said.

The royal couple continued their trip after the incident.

The Jiji Press news agency said it was the first-ever collision involving a car carrying the emperor and empress.


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