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  #741  
Old 05-18-2012, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Artemisia View Post
On another note, this picture of the Empress is really beautiful; she looks frail, yet at the same time dignified.
What a graceful pose; she looks like a living statue. Thank you, Artemisia.
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  #742  
Old 05-19-2012, 12:34 PM
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Japan imperial couple hosted by Prince Charles on Britain visit
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Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on Friday attended a banquet hosted by British heir to the throne Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, at Buckingham Palace in London.
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"In order to make the area inhabitable again, we face the difficult problem of removing radiation." - Emperor Akihito

(Following recent incidents, I would like to refer anybody who may think the emperor´s statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
  #743  
Old 05-20-2012, 12:48 PM
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Japan imperial couple returns home from London
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Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko returned from Britain on Sunday, ending a visit to attend celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee. [...] The emperor is scheduled to take part in official duties at home from Monday, including a tree-planting ceremony in Yamaguchi Prefecture in western Japan on May 27.
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko wave before departing London's Heathrow airport on May 19, 2012

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko return to Tokyo's Haneda airport on May 20, 2012
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"In order to make the area inhabitable again, we face the difficult problem of removing radiation." - Emperor Akihito

(Following recent incidents, I would like to refer anybody who may think the emperor´s statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
  #744  
Old 05-24-2012, 10:13 AM
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Paraguay president to visit Japan next week
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Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo will make a four-day visit to Japan next week to strengthen bilateral economic ties [...] Lugo is scheduled to meet with Emperor Akihito and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, both on May 30 [...]
Mainichi
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"In order to make the area inhabitable again, we face the difficult problem of removing radiation." - Emperor Akihito

(Following recent incidents, I would like to refer anybody who may think the emperor´s statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
  #745  
Old 05-26-2012, 02:03 PM
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Emperor and Empress in Yamaguchi

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  #746  
Old 05-29-2012, 03:23 PM
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Imperial visit to U.K. is a mark of dedication
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The Emperor and Empress managed a tight schedule during their recent visit to Britain, which included attending events to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne and expressing gratitude for Britain's help following last year's March 11 disaster. [...] "The Emperor and the queen share a friendship that has lasted for about 60 years. They both seemed nostalgic," Grand Chamberlain Yutaka Kawashima said.

On Thursday, the Imperial couple met with British people who participated in relief efforts following the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. [...]

On Saturday, the Emperor attended a meeting with Japanese citizens and talked with Keiko Holmes, who works to support British veterans who were prisoners of war of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. "The relationship between the two countries has changed, hasn't it," the Emperor said to Holmes.
The Emperor experienced a protest by former POWs during his first visit to Britain after his enthronement in 1998. In a comment released on May 11 ahead of his latest official visit, he referred to the harsh antipathy toward Japan he experienced 59 years ago. "Only a few people link the Emperor and World War II these days. Most British people accept the Emperor without special feelings," Holmes said. During Saturday's meeting with Japanese citizens, the Emperor said: "When I attended the [queen's] coronation ceremony, Britain's feeling toward Japan was not good. I am filled with deep emotion regarding the strong bond established between Japan and Britain today."

Visit highlights Emperor's will


The Emperor followed a rigorous schedule during his trip to London, even though it has only been three months since he underwent cardiac surgery. [...] On the day of the luncheon, the Emperor traveled one hour by car from London to Windsor Castle. After returning to the hotel and changing clothes, he attended a banquet at Buckingham Palace until late in the evening. [...] Dr. Ghillean Prance of the University of Oxford, who accompanied the Emperor and the Empress during a garden walk, said he thinks the Emperor is a brave man and that his visit to Britain was an honor.

The Emperor's visit highlights the long history between him and Queen Elizabeth II, as well as his strong will in which he cherishes opportunities to meet people.
(The Yomiuri Shimbun, May. 24, 2012)

Emperor, empress meet with Pacific island leaders ahead of summit
Quote:
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko met with leaders of Pacific island nations at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Thursday, just a day ahead of a two-day summit in Okinawa. Crown Prince Naruhito, the imperial couple's eldest son, also attended the meeting with the leaders of 12 Pacific nations.
May 25, 2012(Mainichi Japan)

Imperial couple lay out pine seedlings in Yamaguchi park ceremony
Quote:
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko laid out a range of red pine, camellia and other seedlings during a tree-planting ceremony in a park in the city of Yamaguchi in western Japan on Sunday.

Since the Yamaguchi Kirara Expo Memorial Park is situated on reclaimed land facing the Seto Inland Sea, seedlings suited to coastal areas were chosen for the occasion. The seedlings are expected to form parts of a wood to provide coastal protection, the Yamaguchi prefectural government said.

The local government presented 1,000 black pine trees grown in the prefecture to each of the northeastern Japan prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima hard hit in the March 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami, it added.
May 28, 2012(Mainichi Japan)
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"In order to make the area inhabitable again, we face the difficult problem of removing radiation." - Emperor Akihito

(Following recent incidents, I would like to refer anybody who may think the emperor´s statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
  #747  
Old 05-30-2012, 07:29 AM
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Emperor meets Paraguay president
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Emperor Akihito on Wednesday met with visiting Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, the Imperial Household Agency said. During the meeting, the emperor expressed gratitude for the Paraguayan government's financial support for the activities of Japanese-Paraguayans, who sent 1 million blocks of tofu made using Paraguayan soybeans to the March 2011 disaster-hit regions in Japan, the agency said.

The emperor also referred to his 1978 visit to Paraguay with Empress Michiko as saying, "I remember fondly the meetings with immigrant Japanese-Paraguayans," according to the agency.
Mainichi

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"In order to make the area inhabitable again, we face the difficult problem of removing radiation." - Emperor Akihito

(Following recent incidents, I would like to refer anybody who may think the emperor´s statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
  #748  
Old 06-07-2012, 10:08 AM
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Serzh Sargsyan met Japanese Kaiser Akihito
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President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan on June 7 in Tokyo held a meeting with Japanese Kaiser Akihito. During the talk with Japanese Kaiser issues relating to Armenian-Japanese friendship and cooperation have been discussed.
YEREVAN, JUNE 7, ARMENPRESS

Tenorio wants monument for Japanese monarchs
Quote:
REPRESENTATIVE Froilan C. Tenorio says Saipan should have a monument to commemorate the June 27-28, 2005 visit of the Japanese emperor and empress.Tenorio, Covenant-Saipan, will pre-file a resolution requesting that the Marianas Visitors Authority to erect a “suitable monument.” In an interview, the governor noted that the trip was the first taken by Emperor Akihito to a World War II battlefield abroad. He said the emperor visited other countries because they were invited to do so. “But in our case, they decided on their own to come over here. That, to me, means a lot,” Tenorio said. [...]

He said the emperor was so moved by his visit to Saipan that Akihito even wrote a poem about it. The English translation is as follows:
At Saipan
An old man who had fought there
Just as it had been
Lying down on the sea-shore
Told us the whole sad story.
Down below this cliff
Multitudinous the lives
That people lost here
Where the ocean is so deep
And the seas are blue and clear.


[...] Tenorio said the Japanese businessmen who visited Pagan recently pledged to pay for the construction, as well as the long-term maintenance, of the monument. He said they are going to establish a non-profit foundation on Saipan. The Japanese will collect money from their countrymen, put the money into a foundation and turn it over to the MVA.
June 01 2012

House OKs resolutions on Japan emperor monument, Marianas Trench
Quote:
THE House of Representatives on Thursday adopted two resolutions: one that seeks gains from the Marianas Trench dives and the other to build a monument in honor of the 2005 visit of the Japanese emperor and empress. [...] Rep. Froilan C. Tenorio, Covenant-Saipan, introduced House Resolution 17-103 which urges the Marianas Visitors Authority to build a monument commemorating the visit to Saipan of Japan Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko seven years ago.

Tenorio said “we were the only U.S. soil that the Japanese emperor and the empress decided on their own to visit.”
June 06 2012
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"In order to make the area inhabitable again, we face the difficult problem of removing radiation." - Emperor Akihito

(Following recent incidents, I would like to refer anybody who may think the emperor´s statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
  #749  
Old 06-07-2012, 10:40 AM
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Thanks, Chiara

I know of course that a very fierce battle was fought on Saipan during WWII, however it seems to me that there is more in this story than "just" a monument for the visit.
Can you enlighten us about the significance of this?
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  #750  
Old 06-07-2012, 12:34 PM
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Hi Muhler! Thank your for your trust in my knowledge.
Actually, I am not into all the details concerning Saipan´s history. But it seems that something similar happened there as with Okinawa, at least in some respects.
Quote:
The Japanese Okinawa islands, one has to know, had, until the end of the 19th century, been the kingdom Liu-chiu under King Shotai. It was a peaceful group of small islands as one of King Shotai’s predecessors, the wise ruler King Shoshin, had in 1507 decided to abolish all weapons and military in his tiny Pacific state, as he said: “We are too weak to win against an inimical attack, the only result would be a tremendous bloodshed without use.” […]

Japan had been claiming Liu-chiu as their possession already for a long time, but by diplomacy and by tribute-paying to China as well as to Japan, Liu-chiu managed to remain practically independent until the late 19th century. But then, during the complicated political negotiations that were taking place at the time between China and Japan, China finally signalled that it would not protect the little island state if Japan should choose to occupy it. And so, Japanese military entered the royal castle of Shuri and King Shotai had to abdicate in favour of Japanese governor Narahara Kogoro who, in the following, was to become famous for his cruelty. He and his successors tried to force the people of Liu-chiu, now Okinawa, to forget their native language, they imposed land reforms on them that led to the impoverishment of local farmers, and they persecuted, tortured and killed those who tried to resist. Later, at the end of World War II, Okinawa became the only prefecture in Japan where ground battle was fought. Japanese military used the Okinawan civilian population as human shields to protect the lives of the soldiers. As a result, one third of the Okinawan people perished.
(This is from a blog I have written about the story of Okinawa, for more details see here.)

Saipan had been seized by Japan after World War I and was considered key to Japan's defense. A large number of Japanese civilians lived there. During the war, the U.S. erected a civilian prisoner encampment where life conditions seemed rather luxurious compared to that of the starving population. Obviously, there was a risk that the people of Saipan would surrender to the US troops and maybe undermine the fighting spirit of the Japanese nation by informing their countrymen via radio broadcasts that the US troops were treating them rather generously. Accordingly, Emperor Hirohito sent out an imperial order encouraging the civilians of Saipan to commit suicide. 1,000 Japanese civilians committed suicide in the last days of the battle, some jumping from "Suicide Cliff" and "Banzai Cliff". In all, about 12,000 to 22,000 civilians died. (The first being the official Japanese government figure, the other an estimation of some historians. Japan Times)

But the story gets even more complicated by the fact that not all the people subsumed as “Japanese” were actually Japanese. First, there were the natives of Saipan, the Chamorros, then there were a lot of people from Okinawa and finally there were about 1000 Koreans who were brought to Saipan before the war as conscripts in the Japanese military and as forced laborers. (Juan B. Blanco, a Chamorro who was educated in a Japanese school, told “The Times”, “We were taught that the Emperor was descended from the Sun Goddess and that we have to treat him like a god. We were learning how to become Japanese.”)

However, when Emperor Akihito visited Saipan in 2005, he emphasized that he and the empress were mourning all those who lost their lives, not just Japanese nationals. He said that his heart "ached" at the suffering experienced on Saipan: „This time on soil beyond our shores, we will once again mourn and pay tribute to all those who lost their lives in the war, and we will remember the difficult path that bereaved families had to follow, and we wish to pray for world peace.“

Originally, the emperor and the empress were scheduled to visit two war memorials. The first was the Monument of the War Dead in the Mid-Pacific, which contains victims' belongings and was built in 1974 by the Japanese government and the local government. Second, at the American Memorial Park, the imperial couple laid flowers at monuments built in memory of islanders and American soldiers who lost their lives. Besides, they also visited two cliffs from which hundreds of Japanese soldiers and civilians jumped to their deaths after refusing to surrender. But after complaints from the Korean Association of Saipan who asked them to acknowledge the thousands of Koreans who died during the war, the emperor and empress changed their schedule last minute to stop briefly at the Korean war dead memorial. (It was the first time the emperor has paid tribute at a monument specifically dedicated to Koreans killed in World War II.) On the same stop, Akihito and Michiko also spontaneously visited the Okinawan memorial to pay tribute to the Okinawan people who died on Saipan during the war. Saipan Tribune

I think it is clear now why the visit is memorable. Why the initiative to erect a monument is happening exactly at this moment in time, however, I do not know. I have no clue who the Japanese businessmen are who will pay for it and what their intentions are. But, at least, judging from the information that is available to me now, it seems to me that they could do worse.


At the time of the imperial couple´s visit to Saipan, there was growing anger in China and the Koreas over what many there saw as Japan's failure to make amends and over repeated visits by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to Yasukuni shrine (that is a powerful symbol of Japan's pre-1945 militarism). The peace offer from the emperor certainly had a soothing effect.
Both political tendencies are still significant today – there are many Japanese who want to live in peace with their neighbours but there are also those who are fond of Toru Hashimoto´s populist anti-foreigner stance. His political platform has not been called „Hashism“ for nothing...
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"In order to make the area inhabitable again, we face the difficult problem of removing radiation." - Emperor Akihito

(Following recent incidents, I would like to refer anybody who may think the emperor´s statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
  #751  
Old 06-07-2012, 01:35 PM
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On tueseday there will be a dinner with crown prince philippe and princess Mathilde of Belgium. They go on a economic mission to Japan next week.

Detailled program can be downloaded here.
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  #752  
Old 06-07-2012, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post
Saipan had been seized by Japan after World War I and was considered key to Japan's defense. A large number of Japanese civilians lived there. During the war, the U.S. erected a civilian prisoner encampment where life conditions seemed rather luxurious compared to that of the starving population.
Thanks, ChiaraC

I always thought the civilian population of Saipan were ethnic Japanese. I knew about the mass suicides but the "Imperial suicide order" is news to me.
One of the astounding things that happened at Okinawa was indeed that ethnic Okinawans also committed suicide on a large scale, despite that people having a culture and history clearly distinct from the Japanese.

I view the act by the Emperor as a hand of reconcilliation, especially to the neighbouring countries. As such an initiative is hardly the product of the Imperial court it's safe to assume that it's more or less unofficial Japanese foreign policy?
A policy the government can't pursue too openly for fear of provoking the right wingers, I assume?
Is Japan at present, politically and not least economically, in a position where it can afford to turn the blind eye on the past?
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  #753  
Old 06-07-2012, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by stephanievl View Post
On tueseday there will be a dinner with crown prince philippe and princess Mathilde of Belgium. They go on a economic mission to Japan next week.

Detailled program can be downloaded here.
Thanks for the updates!
I am looking forward to seeing photo from the dinner.
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  #754  
Old 06-07-2012, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
Thanks, ChiaraC
You are very welcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
One of the astounding things that happened at Okinawa was indeed that ethnic Okinawans also committed suicide on a large scale, despite that people having a culture and history clearly distinct from the Japanese.
Well, it seems that in many cases it was not really up to them. In 1999, there was an exhibition planned at the Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum in Okinawa. It had a section that was supposed to tell the tragedy of mass suicides that were orchestrated by Japanese soldiers. However, before the exhibition was opened, Governor Keiichi Inamine ordered a review of the plan without consulting the editors. The editors and historians complained that "the change is the same as falsifying War history" and that the original concept „had totally vanished".

Quote:
In the initial display plan, a soldier was pointing a rifle at a mother, ordering her to kill her baby because the baby's cries would be heard and targetted by American soldiers. The display was supposed to depict the horror of Japanese soldiers doing away with burdensome citizens during the fighting. The set now in the making depicts a soldier with no gun and only staring at people hiding in a cave. The supervising editors were not notified of the change.
As reason for the change it was said that family members of former Japanese soldiers visiting the museum might take offence...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
I view the act by the Emperor as a hand of reconcilliation, especially to the neighbouring countries. As such an initiative is hardly the product of the Imperial court it's safe to assume that it's more or less unofficial Japanese foreign policy?
A policy the government can't pursue too openly for fear of provoking the right wingers, I assume?
Is Japan at present, politically and not least economically, in a position where it can afford to turn the blind eye on the past?
I happen to think that the last minute change was made at the special request of the emperor himself. That does not mean, of course, that the emperor can do whatever he pleases. He has repeatedly tried to visit Pearl Harbour (which is known because there were rumours that he would, for example when he visited Canada and Hawaii in 2009, along with the empress). But it did not happen. The emperor´s influence is limited but it is real, imo, and he always uses it to promote peace wherever possible. (I am also convinced that he is using it to influence the lawmakers to let his granddaughters remain in the family – which does not mean that I am sure that he will be successful in the
end. )

If Japan is at present, politically and economically, in a position where it can afford to turn the blind eye on the past, depends probably on who you ask. Earlier this year, the mayor of Nagoya, Kawamura, maintained that the Rape of Nanjing never happened and Tokyo’s governor Shintaro Ishihara backed him. It is true that government spokesman Osamu Fujimura said that the Japanese government did not share these views. But still, the mayor of Nagoya and the governor of Tokyo are not just anybody. Someone commented in March at Japan Today:
Quote:
Sadly, Ishihara's whole slew of revisionist and racist assertions deliver him wide winning margins at the polls.

From what I have seen, this idea that, far from being a perpetrator, Japan was an innocent victim in the war, and benevolent toward those it ruled, has been gaining in popularity here since the mid 1990s. Until that time, (late 80s/early 90s) it seemed like Japan was starting to address the past, come to grips with what had happened, grow up and move forward -- lots of backsliding since then, though.

I see more and more of this denial mindset and move to a fascist mentality in politics as Japan's demographic bubble deflates, the economy sags and job prospects for Japan's younger generation diminish. Let's hope voices of reason eventually win out.
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"In order to make the area inhabitable again, we face the difficult problem of removing radiation." - Emperor Akihito

(Following recent incidents, I would like to refer anybody who may think the emperor´s statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
  #755  
Old 06-12-2012, 01:03 PM
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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko today hosted a dinner for Crown Prince Philippe and Crown Princess Mathilde at the Imperial Residence.
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"In order to make the area inhabitable again, we face the difficult problem of removing radiation." - Emperor Akihito

(Following recent incidents, I would like to refer anybody who may think the emperor´s statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
  #756  
Old 06-14-2012, 04:24 PM
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Thanks for the photos!
Crown Princess Mathilde's ensemble appears quite awkward.
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  #757  
Old 07-07-2012, 09:46 AM
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Afghan President Karzai Leaves for Japan
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Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday left Kabul for Japan to attend an international conference on Afghanistan, a statement issued here by Presidential Palace said. "President Hamid Karzai as head of a high ranking delegation left for Japan on Saturday morning to attend the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan to be held on Sunday," said the statement.

Besides delivering a speech in the conference, the Afghan leader will have a range of bilateral meetings on the sideline of the conference with Japanese Emperor Akihito and other leaders including Japanese Prime Minister (Yoshihiko) Noda and Foreign Minister (Koichiro) Gemba, according to the statement.
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"In order to make the area inhabitable again, we face the difficult problem of removing radiation." - Emperor Akihito

(Following recent incidents, I would like to refer anybody who may think the emperor´s statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
  #758  
Old 07-11-2012, 02:21 AM
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Emperor Akihito has received Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on July 10, 2012.



** Pic 1 ** Pic 2 ** Pic 3 ** daylife gallery **
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  #759  
Old 07-16-2012, 02:44 PM
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Imperial couple 'beside themselves with worry' at the outset
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In his seven years as grand steward of the Imperial Household Agency, Shingo Haketa has an abiding memory of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko: Their heartfelt concern for victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake.[...]

Haketa, recently retired, granted his first post-retirement interview to The Asahi Shimbun.

Excerpts follow:
Q: During your last news conference as grand steward you said that your most memorable recollection of that period concerned the visits by the emperor and empress after last year's earthquake and tsunami. Could you elaborate?

Haketa: Immediately after the March 11, 2011, disaster, both the emperor and empress were beside themselves with worry about the victims.

They said that they wanted to visit the disaster victims as soon as possible. But at the same time, they did not want to create a further burden on local officials who were very busy providing assistance to the victims and starting the rebuilding process. [...]

Q: Last autumn, you made a proposal to allow female members of the imperial family who marry commoners to retain their status. You argued that problems could arise if the number of imperial family members decreased as a result of marriages with commoners.

That proposal led to hearings by the central government about allowing female members to retain their status. What was behind your proposal?

A: Concerns about the future of the imperial family will not be resolved unless solutions are found to the issue of imperial succession and how to deal with the declining number of imperial family members. [...]

Q: This spring you announced that, based on the wishes of the imperial couple, consideration was being given to switching to cremation rather than burial when the time comes. What was behind that move?

A: I was told of the intentions of the imperial couple quite a while back. Perhaps it would have been better if the announcement was made earlier, but that was difficult because of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the emperor's own illness.

Q: Can you explain a statement you made at a news conference about the emperor's status and activities being one and the same?

A: When I was talking about how the burden of public duties could be reduced, the emperor said, "The status as symbol and the activities based on that status are inseparable." Under the Constitution, the emperor is "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people." His status is defined as "deriving from his position from the will of the people with whom resides sovereign power." Through his daily activities, the emperor has carved out a clear role as the nation's symbol of unity. [...]

Q: Given the fact the emperor is now 78, there are increasing concerns about his health. How to reduce the burden placed on him is also an important issue, isn't it?

A: Not only is the emperor currently recuperating from illness, but limitations due to his advanced age cannot be avoided.
The key issues now concern official duties carried out by the emperor as a symbol within a society that has an aging population as well as how the imperial succession issue is resolved.
I find it remarkable that, in contrast to politicians who use to say that the crown prince, Prince Akishino and Prince Hisahito ensure the succession for another generation so that there is allegedly no necessity to bring about any changes during the next decades, Haketa insists that concerns about the future of the imperial family "will not be resolved unless solutions are found to the issue of imperial succession".
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"In order to make the area inhabitable again, we face the difficult problem of removing radiation." - Emperor Akihito

(Following recent incidents, I would like to refer anybody who may think the emperor´s statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
  #760  
Old 07-19-2012, 02:27 PM
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If Princess Aiko becomes a commoner when she marries, and Prince Hisahito doesn't father at least one male child--without females being allowed to serve as Tenno--things will look very grim indeed for the future of the Chrysanthemum Throne.



Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiaraC View Post
[B]I find it remarkable that, in contrast to politicians who use to say that the crown prince, Prince Akishino and Prince Hisahito ensure the succession for another generation so that there is allegedly no necessity to bring about any changes during the next decades, Haketa insists that concerns about the future of the imperial family "will not be resolved unless solutions are found to the issue of imperial succession".
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