PM Lee to attend lunch hosted by Japan's Emperor Akihito

PM Lee is scheduled to meet his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe and will receive the top honour for a foreign dignitary

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who visited Japan on Monday for a four-day official tour, will be hosted to lunch by Japan Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on Tuesday, the Imperial Household Agency said in an official statement.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Singapore said in the statement on Sunday that PM Lee's trip to Japan marks 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

PM Lee is also scheduled to meet his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe and will receive the top honour for a foreign dignitary on behalf of the late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who passed away in March 2015.

This will be the second award presented by Japan to Lee.

Japan has presented Lee the prestigious Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers to recognise his contributions to the development of bilateral relations over several decades.

In February, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced the award.

"Mr. Lee strived to strengthen relations with Japan and was successful in building a friendship between the two nations," he told The Straits Times.

Prime Minister Abe will present the award to PM Lee at a bilateral summit meeting, and will host a banquet for Lee and the Singapore delegation.

Lee is accompanied by Mrs. Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, senior ministers of state Josephine Teo and Sim Ann, as well as North West District Mayor Teo Ho Pin and MP Zainal Sapari.

Senior officials from the Prime Minister's Office, the MFA and the Ministry of Trade and Industry are also included in the list of delegates.

This trip will strengthen the economic and people-to-people ties more between the two countries.

Singapore ranks top as Japan's Asian foreign direct investor. While on the other hand, Japan was Singapore's eighth-largest trading partner and second- largest foreign direct investor.

In 2015, almost 800,000 Japanese tourists visited Singapore, while more than 300,000 Singaporeans went to Japan.

During this official trip, PM Lee will also meet Japanese political and business leaders. He is also scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at a special session of the 22nd Nikkei International Conference on The Future Of Asia, organized by Nikkei, a Japanese publisher.

Singaporeans who are living in Japan will also get an opportunity to meet PM Lee at a National Day reception.

While PM Lee is in Japan, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam will be the acting prime minister in his absence.