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  #781  
Old 09-24-2012, 01:16 PM
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Is there a danger of the Emperor being seen as interfering in political affairs instead of sticking to his figurehead role?
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  #782  
Old 09-24-2012, 01:53 PM
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Well, that is the problem. He has to find a way to hit the balance. On the other hand, people will always try to make political use of him anyway, no matter what he does. He simply cannot help it. Mind you, when the emperor said that he would like to visit Korea, this was not a public statement. Rather, his statement has been made public by a politician (who probably had a certain political purpose). Another politician with a different political purpose, Nobuteru Ishihara, son of Tokyo's stridently nationalistic governor, Shintaro Ishihara, and one of the top candidates to lead the Liberal Democrat Party, said last week, he believed it was important that Emperor Akihito be able to visit and pray at Yasukuni Shrine – an action which would surely upset China and which, I am certain, the emperor would never even dream of performing. Still, Ishihara makes use of the emperor´s person to express a potentially controversial view in a way that is hard to criticize.

What I mean to say is that the emperor cannot possibly help having an impact on politics – if he holds still, ultranationalists will use him as figurehead for their political purposes. If he does not like that (which he obviously does not), he has to try and make that clear by his words and actions. Due to Japan´s history and culture, the emperor cannot be neutral - although he is required to remain so. This paradox makes the position of the tenno extremely difficult, in particular as long as he is “new in the job”. I am sure that, in this matter, Naruhito completely shares his father´s opinion. But if the emperor´s heart surgery had gone badly, and Naruhito had had to ascend the throne his year, I doubt that Naruhito could have afforded to make a similar statement about a possible visit to Korea. Emperor Akihito, in turn, is in a way immune to criticism because of his age and frailty, and because of the immense popularity he has gained by his support for the disaster victims of March 11.
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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.)
  #783  
Old 09-26-2012, 01:27 PM
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On September 24, the emperor held the annual rice harvest in the fields near the imperial palace. The rice will be used for imperial court rituals. (Article, picture)
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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.)
  #784  
Old 09-26-2012, 01:32 PM
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Thanks, Chiara

Your insight is always interesting.
I'm not that familiar with current Japanese politics, but perhaps you know?

How is the current political climate in Japan in regards to Korea, - and to large extent also to China?
What is the view of the man on the street?

To put it bluntly, is Japan tuning towards a more nationalistic and even xenofobic (including being scared) direction?
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  #785  
Old 09-26-2012, 04:00 PM
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You´re always welcome.
Of course, it is hard to be sure about public opinion in a country like Japan where silence may serve to express strong dissent as well as strong support, as the case may be.

I do think that at least some Japanese (not the majority) may feel relieved by taking out their frustration about the difficult economical situation out on foreigners. And these economical difficulties will probably rather increase in the future. I do not know much about Asian economy but it seems to me that China is becoming a dangerous rival in the field of high tech industries that have been a Japanese area of specialization for decades. If China will be able to produce laptops or cars of the same quality as Japan, but cheaper, Japan will predictably have a big problem.

Still, all in all, I would suppose that the majority of Japanese is not overly xenophobic. But the problem might be that they neither overly mind it if some of their leading politicians are. It seems to me that politicians with a nationalistic agenda, like for example the mayor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto, do gain votes from people who share their views but do not lose votes from people who are personally more liberal. Hashimoto, for example, also says that Japan should stop using nuclear energy now. For obvious reasons that is popular with many Japanese, and I suppose that many will vote for him for this reason, even if they may not appreciate the fact that at the height of the conflict with South Korea, Hashimoto asserted that Korea still needed to present solid proof that comfort women were taken away by force and claimed that there was no evidence the women were assaulted or forced into sexual slavery, thereby considerably fuelling the conflict even further.
Here is a spot-on Mainichi Editorial: Past progress on comfort women issue must not be dropped in heat of moment:
Quote:
In 1993, then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono declared that Japan "deeply regrets and apologizes" for the Imperial Army's enslavement of Korean women […] If Japan were to discard the Kono statement and start from scratch, it would in effect throw away all the pain and effort made over the years to find a political settlement on the comfort women issue. […] The Kono statement was released in tandem with the results of a Japanese investigation into the comfort women issue. The report concluded that, while it could not be stated for certain that Korean women had been systematically forced into sexual slavery, the Imperial Army had participated in establishing brothels for its troops and sending Korean women to work in them, "generally against their will." The report went on to apologize for the offenses to the women's honor and dignity inflicted on them by Japan.

At the time, the South Korean government said that the investigative report "cleared away the greatest obstacle to good South Korea-Japan relations." The Kono statement that came at the same time as the report was intended to remove the thorn of the comfort women issue once and for all. We would like to see politicians of both nations return to that stance.

Some in the Japanese government, however, are doing much to prevent this from happening. [...]
I have to add that many Japanese are disappointed with the ruling DPJ because it has failed to bring promised change to the stodgy political scene. That means that in the upcoming elections the conservative LDP will, in all probability, win back power. A look at the top candidates to lead the LDP „suggests a more nationalist government may soon be ruling Japan“. One is the above quoted Nobuteru Ishihara (the one who said that Emperor Akihito should pray at Yasukuni Shrine), and I am sorry to say it, but he is not even the most conservative among them. Another is former prime minister Shinzo Abe who is known for his nationalistic views:
Quote:
Abe riled neighboring countries during his 2006-2007 tenure as prime minister by denying there is any proof that the Imperial Japanese Army coerced Chinese, Korean and other women into prostitution in military brothels during the war. He later apologized for the remarks, but lately he has been suggesting that a landmark 1993 acknowledgement that the military recruited women as sex slaves may need to be revised. Abe also has recently said he regrets not visiting Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan's war dead, including Class-A war criminals, during his time as prime minister. The issue is an extremely sensitive one for Japan's neighbors and war victims: Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's annual visits to the shrine from 2000 to 2006 put relations with China into a deep freeze.
According to the Japan Times, the general population is „more deeply concerned about the stagnant economy, social security and overhauling the nation's energy policy in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster“, pointing to the fact that apart from the usual token protests outside the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo by far rightwing demonstrators in black trucks, „there have been virtually no public demonstrations over the Senkakus, though thousands regularly gather outside the prime minister's office to demand an end to nuclear power“.

I think it is only fair to say that Japan´s conflicts with South Korea as well as with China would not exist if there were no politicians in all three countries who are interested in fuelling and exploiting the conflicts. But, unfortunately, this is a purely theoretical scenario because such politicians do exist:
Quote:
China's rise and North Korea's latest attempt to fire a rocket earlier this year have created an opportunity for some politicians to exploit."I don't think the country is moving to the right, but I think there's more room today to whip up more nationalist fervor because people are feeling a bit more vulnerable," said Sheila Smith, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.
Here is a (imo) very intelligent comment of the Straits Times about China-Japan Ties: Honor and History Between Neighbors.

And here is an interesting expert discussion about the tangled history of Korea-Japan relations, including the Dokdo issue.
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(Following recent incidents, I would like to refer anybody who may think the emperor´s statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
  #786  
Old 09-26-2012, 04:15 PM
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...continuing...

I suppose (I hope) that it is not yet clear how all this will finally turn out. But I do think that there is reason to be worried. Six years ago, someone who was obviously very knowledgeable about Japanese politics as well as the imperial family wrote in an internet forum:
Quote:
I see the larger picture to be about two dreams for Japan's future. Japan right now is torn between the ultraconservative revisionists who control the LDP (often nicknamed as The LEAST Democratic Party) and the more modern public.

IMO, the Empress/Successsion issue is a looking glass for much larger, more politically worrying questions facing Japan. The same people who oppose the Empress succession are those spearheading the return to a 1930s Japan. I'll repeat out an explanation which I gave to someone else and that's about Japan's current political situation.

Almost half (or more) of the Japanese PM's cabinet are sons of former war criminals, men from Tojo's govt. and/or from powerful political dynasties that are fully indoctrinated in the Old School of thought. These are men who believe every inch of their father's views, no matter how heinous. These are men who have dismissed and justified the Japanese war slaves, the Rape of Nanking and the scientific/chemical/torture experimentation on "subhumans" by the Japanese Army during WWII.

These are men who, like Koizumi, go in their PUBLIC capacity every few months to bow down to the war criminals at the Yasukuni Shrine. Not just any war criminals but Class-A ones. The best parallel to describe it is: the German Chancellor going in a public capacity to bow and worship at Hitler, Goering, Himmler and Goebbels graves. It wouldn't happen in Germany but it is in Japan.

It gets even worse. The national anthem which was previously associated with nationalistic, militaristic aggression has come back after being banned for years. The Rising Sun flag associated with all of the 1930s/WWII butchery has been re-adopted after being banned for years. There is an outcry across all of Asia about Japan's new textbooks which completely rewrite the past. The lawsuits by victims of Japanese extermination and torture squads are being rejected without a word, while attacks by the ultranationalists are on the rise. [...]

I've wrote my thesis on one aspect of Nazi Germany and I know enough about history (especially the totalitarian sort) to see the danger signs in Japan. Japan now is like Germany in 1930. It's on the threshold. And if either of the 2 people singled out to replace the current Japanese PM get into office, it will be a catastrophe. They both come from established political, powerhouse dynasties; they are both sons of powerful members of the militaristic Tojo/WW2 cabinet; and they are both such excessive ultranationalists that they make Atilla the Hun look leftist.

No-one is watching Japan because they are (legitimately) concerned about China and N. Korea. But the dismissal of Japan is a dangerous thing because of those other two countries and their past problems they have with a militaristic, aggressive Japan.

Japan is making every effort to bring back the symbols of the past, and they are using the current US situation to slide other things under the carpet without anyone really noticing. Article after article in the political journals comments on the danger in Japan but there are too many other distracting things happening right now for people to notice.

The bottom line is that the situation with the Japanese monarchy is more about internal politics than anything else. Historically, the JIF has been used -- deliberately and manipulatively --- for larger political, national purposes. Even in the Meiji period, the Emperor was controlled by a powerful oligarchy. It's happening again.

This fuss about Masako isn't really about her or Aiko; it's about the conservatives' attempts to return the monarchy to pre-WWII days when the Emperor was the symbol of the state. They're trying to rewrite the Constitution to that effect, change all the post-war Allied rules, and bring back Emperor worship. They want to remilitarize and bring back Japan's old glory, just as they did the banned Rising Sun flag and the banned militaristic/nationalistic anthem, as well as rewriting all the history books to the point that there were huge, HUGE violent uprisings in neighboring Asian countries.

The Conservatives in power can't afford to have a female succession change the backwards progression to the old days. How can they justify amending the Constitution to return the Emperor's role to the old Hirohito position of importance if the "Emperor" is a woman? How can they get support from all the Shinto and religious groups who have already revolted against a female monarch? How can they erase the past if they can't make the monarch a semi-divine figure or a fully divine one, especially if the monarch isn't even a direct (male) descendent of the Goddess Amaterasu?

You mark my words, Japan in 10 years will be a huge problem, mostly because China and N. Korea (a paranoid state if there ever was one) will flip out over them. Both countries have already started but it will get much worse than week long violent riots where people die. South Korea and other countries too have also spoken up over the past year or so, with similar outbreaks.

The writing is on the wall, and a huge part of all this ties into the situation with the Japanese Imperial family. But the ultranationalists who make up Koizumi's govt. and who are likely be his successors don't care. They WILL bring back the old Japan of the 1930s, and no depressed woman or little girl is going to impede their plans.
This warning has admittedly impressed me a lot and has put me on the alert. I think it is impossible to deny that, in some respects, ultranationalists are on the rise in the Japan. (I have also written about this development in my Akihito blog.)

But it is also important to see that those people are not “the Japanese”. For example, there admittedly are anti-Korean sentiments in Japan but, on the other hand, there is also a "Korean Wave" pop culture boom there, which was contributed to by imports of Korean TV dramas and other pop culture imports.

I am admittedly concerned, but I think there is still no reason to despair. And one of the brightest rays of hope in this difficult situation is Emperor Akihito.
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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.)
  #787  
Old 09-26-2012, 05:12 PM
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Thanks, ChiaraC

Yes, I agree with you. The Emperor seems to me to be a counterweight. Perhaps because he is not tainted with nationalistic family ties and as the enlightned man he obviously is can, and is allowed, to look beyond the nationalist boundaries.

Admittedly this is very difficult for me to comprehend.I wonder if it is cultural or whether is has more to do with not tainting the family-name for certain politicians. I.e. an extreme form of denial.
What are they afraid off by admitting that these atrocities did take place? You can hardly be accountable for what your grandparents did, however hideous it may have been. Painful? Yes, absolutely! Something to feel ashamed about? Sure!
Is the fear of losing face greater than the fear of letting the nutcases take over? - If so, Japan is hardly alone in world politics today!
To quote Pink Floyd: The lunatics are on the grass...

I certainly feel there is a reason to worry! Japan doesn't have that many friends, should there be a conflict with China, be it economically, politically or even militarily. With the current financial stagnation in USA and Europe and as a consequence the political influence decreasing and with the economic balance shifting worldwide, Japan cannot and should not expect help, even in the very worst scenario.
If the Japanese elect ultra nationalist politicians and these politicians do something silly, Japan will lose! Either being reduced to a has-been economic power or finding themselves reduced to very much a political secondary power in the region.
Japan may be in for a very brutal lesson.

And a little chuckle. Attilla the Hun was anything but a nationalist.
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  #788  
Old 09-27-2012, 01:52 AM
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As this is a current events thread for Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, let's please get back to the topic of this thread - thanks!
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:50 PM
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On September 20, the emperor and empress visited a home for the aged in Wako, Saitama Prefecture, and afterwards the Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore. Picture
On September 29, the imperial couple attended the opening ceremony of the National Sports Festival in Gifu.
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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.)
  #790  
Old 10-04-2012, 04:00 PM
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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have received Prince Alois of Liechtenstein who is currently on a five-day visit to Japan at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on October 4, 2012.



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Old 10-11-2012, 07:38 PM
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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attended a tea party hosted by the staffs of the Imperial Household Agency to celebrate Emperor's 77th birthday on October 10, 2012 in Tokyo, Japan.
The party had been postponed due to the March 11 earthquake and his operation last year.

- The Emperor and Empress 1
- The Emperor and Empress 2 (really love the way the Emperor looks at his wife)
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:08 AM
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Yesterday, October 11, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have received Zambian President Michael Chilufya Sata and his wife Christine Kaseba at the Imperial Palace. Sata is on a 6-day tour in Japan.



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Old 10-12-2012, 01:22 PM
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Emperor, empress bid farewell to Malaysian royal couple
Quote:
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko bid farewell on Friday to visiting Malaysian King Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah and Queen Haminah Hamidun, who flew home after a five-day stay in Japan [...]

The event marks the first time in almost two years that the emperor attended all events relating to a state guest. He had excused himself from a range of official duties in recent years because of poor health. [...]
October 06, 2012(Mainichi Japan)

From bitterness to grace: Comfort women and the Korean ‘han’
Quote:
[...] Koreans today have another, exceptional opportunity for reconciliation and redemption, as Japanese Emperor Akihito has expressed his strong desire to visit Korea and to apologize to the people. As the supreme, moral figure in Japan, the Emperor is a uniquely powerful outlet for Korean victims’ groups to share their stories and a partner to transform moral dialogue among the two countries. It will not completely settle the many grievances, but it will be a solid start to a new cycle of grace, not of bitterness, in the Korean and Japanese psyches. [...]
The Korea Herald October 09, 2012

Quote:
This weekend will Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko making a visit to the village of Kawauchi to meet with residents forced to live in temporary housing. The small town sits right on the border of the 12.4 mile exclusion zone surrounding the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant. The massive leaks of radiation after last years meltdown forced the village’s 3,000 residents to evacuate, with only 500 having returned by now.
The Japan Daily Press October 10, 2012

Japan's Imperial Couple to visit village near crippled nuke plant
Quote:
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on Saturday will visit a village that lies partially in the no-go zone around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to encourage residents living in temporary housing and inspect radiation decontamination work.

The Imperial Household Agency said Tuesday the one-day trip to Kawauchi, Fukushima Prefecture, is part of the Imperial Couple's efforts to encourage people in areas near the nuclear plant that was crippled by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.[...] The Emperor and Empress will visit a decontamination site where workers have cut away irradiated foliage around houses and washed the exterior walls and roofs of buildings, the agency said. [...]

It will be the Imperial Couple's first trip to Fukushima Prefecture since May 11, 2011, when they visited the cities of Fukushima and Soma.
Japan Times, October 10, 2012

God has been kind to Zambia - Sata
Quote:
[...] President Sata is today scheduled to meet the emperor and empress of Japan and businessmen before proceeding to another Japanese town - Hokkaido.

Emperor Akihito is a committed environmentalist with an interest in biodiversity and belongs to a workaholic generation which, according to the Times of London, almost views leisure or a wealthy lifestyle as immoral. Emperor Akihito speaks very carefully to avoid making any promises he can't keep and goes out of his way to avoid statements that can be interpreted as having a political meaning. [...]
The Post online, October 11, 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.)
  #794  
Old 10-13-2012, 03:01 PM
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Emperor, empress visit village in Fukushima
Quote:
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on Saturday visited the village of Kawauchi in Fukushima Prefecture to offer words of encouragement to residents who have returned there.

The emperor and empress took a special shinkansen train from Tokyo Station to Koriyama Station in Fukushima Prefecture. TV media showed them receiving a big welcome at Koriyama, after which they were driven to Kawauchi. The imperial couple chatted with residents and asked them how they were doing. They also observed ongoing decontamination work on houses. [...]
The emperor and empress will return to Tokyo on Saturday night.
Japanese royal couple visits village near Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant
Quote:
Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on Saturday visited a village near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The one-day trip to Kawauchi, Fukushima Prefecture, is in line with the imperial couple's desire to provide encouragement to people in areas near the nuclear plant crippled by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, said local media.
Emperor, Empress visit village near Fukushima Daiichi complex
Quote:
After Kawauchi's entire population of 3,000 temporarily evacuated in the wake of the nuclear crisis, only some of the residents have since returned.

The Imperial couple observed decontamination work for some 60 houses and other places in one of the village's districts about 25 kilometers from the plant, asking some workers about contamination and expressing gratitude for their work.

They also visited around 90 residents living in temporary homes who evacuated from an area within a 20-km radius of the plant to which they remain prohibited from returning.
1 ** 2 ** 3
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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.)
  #795  
Old 10-16-2012, 11:04 AM
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Empress Michiko and Emperor Akihito received the Olympic medalists at the Imperial Palace on October 15, 2012.



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Old 10-20-2012, 04:49 PM
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Japan empress turns 78
Quote:
Japanese Empress Michiko celebrated her 78th birthday Saturday, expressing relief over Emperor Akihito's recovery from heart surgery and hoping to live with him "in peace" despite her own health concerns. [...]

The Imperial Household Agency said the empress takes morning walks with the emperor to ease the pain of backache she sometimes suffers upon waking.

"Although at times I feel aches and pains and I am beginning to experience some discomfort I am somehow learning to manage them and am hoping that I may spend the coming days together with His Majesty rather quietly and in peace," she said.
Press Conference on the occasion of Her Majesty's Birthday (Written Answers) (2012)
Quote:
It is already a year and seven months since the Great East Japan Earthquake, but as mentioned in the question, the road to recovery is difficult and many of the victims are still living under grueling conditions in various places to which they have had to relocate. It is particularly distressing to learn that even after so much time, there are still more than 2,700 people who are unaccounted for, and my heart goes out to their families for having to suffer for so long. [...] It is my sincere wish that those people be given the most accurate information available so that their lives will be safer and more stable, and that proper care be given to the health of those who continue to labour so valiantly day in and day out at the site of the damaged nuclear power plants. [...]

In spite of the successful surgery, His Majesty lost His appetite after the surgery, and as a result, He continued to have fluid in His chest, making it necessary for Him to undergo thoracentesis twice after leaving hospital. At times I worried whether His Majesty would ever get better, but gradually signs of improvement began to appear. Just as Dr. Amano, who performed the operation, predicted when His Majesty was leaving hospital, the first signs of spring brought clear signs of recovery. His Majesty started walking more steadily day by day, and in March we were able to walk beyond the gate of the residence and pick nobiru and fukinoto (wild rocambole and Japanese butterbur scape, both plants that sprout in early spring).

It was with so much relief that we were able to attend the ceremony commemorating the first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which had been on His Majesty’s mind ever since He was hospitalized and continued to be His Majesty’s utmost wish. Whether we could visit the United Kingdom in May to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II remained undecided until the last moment, but this visit was realized as well. Both the Queen and the Emperor looked so happy when they met at Windsor Castle that, looking on by their side, I felt deeply happy as well.
(The empress was also asked about the debated changes concerning the Imperial House Law and the status of the princesses but did not answer this question at all.)

Pictures 1 ** 2 ** 3 ** 4
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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.)
  #797  
Old 10-25-2012, 03:56 PM
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On October 22, Empress Michiko and Emperor Akihito received the President of Panama Ricardo Martinelli and his wife for a meeting at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.



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Old 10-29-2012, 05:00 PM
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Emperor Akihito has opened the extraordinary diet session at the upper house of parliament in Tokyo today, October 29, 2012.




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Old 10-30-2012, 02:08 PM
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Akihito’s Brandt moment

Quote:
Dear Emperor Akihito:

Relations with your closest neighbor have reached a nadir. The ongoing dispute over Takeshima (Dokdo to the Koreans)-- which customarily never moved outside public outcry and diplomatic spaces - has impacted real economics: A Seoul-Tokyo currency swap deal has been scrapped. These endless bilateral spats are becoming damaging.

Many consider the Dokdo-Takeshima dispute territorial. I’d argue otherwise. The islets were seized by Japan in 1905. Five years subsequently, Korea was annexed. Rightly or wrongly, millennial Koreans consider Japan’s 1905 Takeshima land-grab the vanguard of annexation. This makes the dispute collateral to a much greater issue: Contrasting national interpretations of history and historical responsibility. So what to do? Assuming you wish South Korea to be a friend and ally, the time has come for a dramatic statement; an in-front-of-the-cameras gesture that cannot be overlooked.

There is a model. In 1970, German Chancellor Willy Brandt touched a wreath in Germany’s national colors, then - unscripted - fell to his knees before the monument to the Warsaw Ghetto. He did not speak; his silence spoke volumes. Brandt later won the Nobel Peace Prize, his Warsaw moment seen as pivotal in laying to rest Germany’s war guilt. [...]

Take the “comfort women.” Yes, records are scant and yes, some comfort women were indeed Japanese. But the surviving Korean comfort women were coerced into atrocious servitude. Sex slavery is an appropriate term. So I suggest surviving comfort women are those you should kneel before.

“But!” you counter. “Japanese prime ministers, ministers and diplomats - even I and my father - have made over 50 apologies for the past. And we paid official restitution in 1965, funding which kick-started ‘The Korean Miracle!’ What more can we do?”

On financial restitution, I agree: You paid. On apologies, their number and frequency are irrelevant: While some Korean opinion leaders simply ignore those apologies, more thoughtful ones say, “Japan is not contrite.” The former were disingenuous. The latter have a point. As evidence, they cite various high-profile Japanese figures who undermine apologies by denying Japanese brutality - in Germany, by the way, holocaust denial is illegal - by officially visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, and so on. Given this, can you blame Koreans for questioning Japanese sincerity? [...]

Then there is Takeshima. Let’s face it: Short of war, you will never get it. Given the islets’ general insignificance and the international community’s disinterest, I’d suggest your national government cease pushing an un-winnable issue. You might even be able to reach a behind-closed-doors quid pro quo with the Koreans: If Tokyo renounces its claim to the islets, they may pipe down on the Sea of Japan/East Sea dispute.

But the big issue is history. Only when an unequivocal, un-ignorable apology by Japan’s highest-level figure is issued can Koreans stop claiming ignorance of Japanese apologies or blame Japanese for insincerity. Such an apology would hurl the gauntlet before Koreans saying: “We have made this gesture. Can the sons be forgiven for the sins of the fathers? Can our two nations move forward?” These are loaded questions. Koreans may snarl, “No!” But at least it offers hope of reconciliation.

But there is a bigger, prior question, “Would Tokyo’s politicians permit Your Highness to make this gesture on Japan’s behalf?

I suspect that answer, regrettably, is “No.” And that, in a nutshell, is the problem.
The Korea Times

Apart from the fact that he is calling the emperor "Your Highness" , the man actually has a point.
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(Following recent incidents, I would like to refer anybody who may think the emperor´s statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
  #800  
Old 10-30-2012, 05:05 PM
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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attended the 146th running of the Tenno Sho (Autumn), one of Japan's most prestigious races on October 28, 2012. It was the second time in seven years that they had attended the race. Their visit in 2005 had marked the first time in 106 years for an emperor to attend the race that is named for him.


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