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  #61  
Old 10-09-2013, 03:51 PM
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Emperor Akihito has visited the 'Hajime Masuda and Japanese Ichthyology' exhibition at the Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Natural History in Odawara, Kanagawa on October 8, 2013.


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  #62  
Old 10-15-2013, 06:26 AM
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Emperor Akihito has delivered a speech during the opening ceremony of the Diet session in Tokyo on October 15, 2013.



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  #63  
Old 10-28-2013, 05:32 PM
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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have visited the Kumamoto Prefecture.

On October 26 they visited Hansen's disease patients at the National Sanatorium Kikuchi Keifuen in Koshi, Kumamoto Prefecture.



** Pic 1 ** Pic 2 ** Pic 3 **


On October 27 they laid flowers at the monument to Minamata disease victims in Minamata, Kumamoto Prefecture.


** Pic 1 ** Pic 2 **


And today, October 28, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited the prefectural hall.


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** japantimes.com: Kumamoto mascot Kumamon greets Imperial Couple **


** newsonjapan.com: Emperor, Empress make 1st visit to Minamata **


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Old 10-29-2013, 03:28 AM
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A belated addition for Empress Michiko's 79th birthday on October 20: the Imperial Household Agency has released four new portraits that were taken on September 26, 2013:




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  #65  
Old 11-01-2013, 12:37 PM
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The emperor and empress attended at The Ceremony of Sophia University 100th Anniversary
The Ceremony of Sophia University 100th Anniversary was held Sophia University Official Website
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  #66  
Old 11-02-2013, 07:11 AM
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Empress Michiko says disaster victims will always be close to her heart

Quote:
Empress Michiko expressed grave concerns for victims of Typhoon No. 26 and urged Japan not to forget the evacuees of the 2011 natural disasters in written responses released on Oct. 20, her 79th birthday.

She was answering questions submitted by the media before her birthday. [...]

HER MAJESTY'S ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS BY THE PRESS ON THE OCCASION OF HER BIRTHDAY

[...] It seems to me that this year, before and after the Constitution Memorial Day in May, we saw more active discussion regarding the Constitution than in previous years. As I followed the discussion, mainly in the papers, I recalled the Itsukaichi Constitution draft, which we once saw at the Folk Museum of Itsukaichi during our visit to Itsukaichi in Akiruno city.

Many years before the Meiji Constitution was promulgated in 1890, the local elementary school teachers, village heads, farmers, and other common people gathered together, and after much deliberation, drew up a private draft Constitution.

The Constitution contains 204 articles, including those about respect for basic human rights, guarantee of freedom of education, the obligation to receive education, equality under law, as well as freedom of speech and freedom of religion, and it also mentions local autonomy.

I was told that similar draft constitutions were drawn up by the people in more than 40 places across Japan at the time. I was deeply impressed by the strong desire for political participation of the people who lived at the dawn of modern Japan and their passionate hopes for the future of our country. As a document of how ordinary citizens in Japan had already developed an awareness of civil rights at the end of the 19th century, in a country which was just opening up after years of closure, I think it is a rare cultural asset in the world. [...]

With advancing age, I have come to experience pain and numbness in my arms and legs, and I have had to cancel my attendance at my official duties on some occasions over the past 12 months. [...] As to the ritual ceremonies mentioned in the question, physical problems prevent me these days from attending every ceremony throughout the year as I used to in the past. I am hoping that I will be able to attend at least five or six ceremonies a year, including the Genshi-sai New Year ceremony and the Annual Ceremonies of Emperor Showa and Empress Kojun. [...]

I was truly happy that the crown princess was able to visit the Netherlands and return home safely. I am glad to see that since the visit, she has continued to be well, visiting disaster-afflicted areas and even attending ceremonies together with the crown prince.

All the grandchildren are growing up. Mako, the older daughter of Prince and Princess Akishino, is in her final year of college and now performs duties as an adult member of the imperial family. I watch over her with joy as she anxiously yet sincerely and conscientiously handles the two roles.

Kako, the younger daughter, has become a college student and experienced her first overseas stay by herself this year. As she turns 20 next year, the imperial family will soon be welcoming another youthful adult member.

In the crown prince’s family, Aiko is now in the sixth grade. She has grown quite tall, and I expect that she will soon be overtaking me in height. That she performed in the orchestra in the cello section with the crown prince, and especially that she worked hard at swimming, which was not her forte, and achieved her own goal in this year’s long distance swim in Numazu, made me happy and endeared her to me.

Hisahito is now in elementary school. When he is running around on the grass, he still looks very young, but it is his parents’ hope that he will gradually come to understand his role as he continues to learn and experience many things appropriate for his age. For the time being, he is being brought up in a natural and carefree atmosphere.
Empress turns 79, voices ‘joy’



Imperial family members on their way to the palace to greet the empress

Emperor felt public affinity in ’92 China trip
Quote:
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko asked for “heart-to-heart” contacts with Chinese citizens during their 1992 visit to China that significantly boosted the two countries’ relations at the time. Yoshihiro Hasumi, Japan’s consul general in Shanghai at the time, said that to realize such contacts, the Imperial Couple made three requests to him via then-chamberlain Hideomi Tezuka. Among the requests, Hasumi was asked to slow the speed of the car taking the couple on a tour of downtown Shanghai so that they could return the welcome of local people, said the former diplomat, who is now 80. [...]

“When I saw so many smiles from small children held up by their parents close to the window of our car on the (Shanghai) streets, and how they welcomed (us) fully in the same way Japanese do, I almost thought they were Japanese,” the Empress told the party. “I realized the Japanese and Chinese share the same culture.”
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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 emperors statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
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  #67  
Old 11-02-2013, 06:39 PM
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Fukushima taboo? Politician draws Japanese Emperor into nuclear controversy
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An anti-nuclear lawmaker broke a taboo, drawing heavy criticism in Japan, by handing the Emperor a letter of concern over the issue of the growing Fukushima radiation and the impact on childrens health.

Taro Yamamoto, an independent lawmaker at the Tokyo prefecture in the House of Councilors, the upper house of the Japanese parliament, personally handed the letter to Emperor Akihito during a party at the Akasaka Palaces imperial garden on Thursday. [...] "I wanted him to know about the children who have been contaminated by radiation. If this goes on, there will be serious health impacts," said Yamamoto.

Emperor Akihito inclined his head as he took the letter in his hand but then handed it to a chamberlain, said Yamamoto adding that His Imperial Majesty made no comment.

The politicians initiative set off a storm of protest in the Japanese media with many saying that his action was inappropriate breaking the taboo of involving a member of the Imperial Family in politics.
Fukushima Watch: Letter to Emperor Draws Criticism

Lawmaker under fire for letter to Emperor
Quote:
[...] On Friday, several Cabinet ministers criticized Yamamoto, and education minister Hakubun Shimomura even argued that his behavior is something that deserves resignation as a Diet member. According to Kyodo News, Masashi Waki, the LDPs Upper House affairs chief, told party executives that the LDP should consider proposing a Diet resolution demanding that Yamamoto resign from the Diet. [...]

Yamamoto told reporters after the session that he wrote and handed the letter because he wanted the Emperor to learn the true situation concerning the Fukushima No. 1 fallout and the plight of the workers there. Yamamoto claimed he did not expect his action would be reported by the media or be seen as any kind of political activity. I had thought only his Imperial Majesty and people around him would know of the letter, but (this) has been reported by the media, he said. Because you media people play this up, (my behavior) is being used for some political purposes, Yamamoto said.
Letter to emperor incident sparking huge debate
Quote:
A rookie lawmaker has sparked a fierce debate over the simmering issue of politics and the emperor in Japan. [...] State ministers and Diet members from both the ruling and opposition parties were up in arms, saying his action amounted to political exploitation of the emperor.
Yamamoto, a former actor who is well known for his anti-nuclear opinions, said he never had any intention of exploiting the emperor. I just wanted to convey my thoughts, he said. [...]

Nevertheless, his action continues to have repercussions because of past cases in which government leaders tried to break a political deadlock by using the emperors attendance at official functions. Each time this had happened, concern had been voiced that public acts involving the emperor and imperial family members could leave them open to political exploitation.

Shimomura, the education minister, exerted pressure on the Imperial Household Agency to allow the participation of Princess Hisako in the general assembly of the International Olympic Committee in September to help win the bid for Tokyo to host the 2020 Summer Games. In April, the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a ceremony to mark the Restoration of Sovereignty Day. When Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko were leaving the venue after the ceremony, Abe and other people on the stage chanted, Long Live the Emperor in response to the same call from participants on the floor.
In 2009, when the Democratic Party of Japan was in power, the Hatoyama administration got the Imperial Household Agency to break with protocol and arrange a meeting in Tokyo between the emperor and Xi Jinping, then a vice president of China.
In each of those three instances, no disciplinary measures were considered against the politicians.
Yamamoto on Nov. 1 told reporters, If I have to be disciplined on grounds that I exploited the emperor for political purposes, we also have to discuss the other cases.

Yamamoto said he handed the letter to the emperor without realizing he was breaking long-established rules. Those invited to the biannual imperial garden parties in the Akasaka Imperial Gardens in Tokyo receive a guide from the Imperial Household Agency beforehand explaining etiquette. The guide contains a map of the gardens. On the back, a note reads, When (the emperor, the empress and other members of the imperial family) visit you, please refrain from taking photos of them. However, the note does not say, Dont hand objects to them. [...]

In the view of Jiro Yamaguchi, a professor of political science at Hokkaido University, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko are guardians of the nations postwar democracy and the pacifist Constitution. Yamaguchi described Yamamotos action as thoughtless and one that had dangerous political ramifications. At the same time, he said the Abe administration exploited the imperial family to achieve its own ends at the ceremony for the Restoration of Sovereignty Day and the IOC general assembly. Thus, he said it was unfair to criticize only Yamamoto.
Yamamoto is a Diet member elected by the people. It is a denial of democracy to say that he should resign (as a lawmaker) because he committed a blasphemous act, Yamaguchi said.
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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 emperors statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
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  #68  
Old 11-02-2013, 07:47 PM
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Fukushima Taboo

What Yamamoto did took guts. I don't understand (and correct me if I'm wrong) but why is the government dragging its feet regarding the evacuees of Fukushima? They are still in temporary housing, two years after the disaster. Is there something I'm missing? Or is it just peoples reluctance to move someplace different after living in one place their entire lives?
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Old 11-03-2013, 07:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjkimura1976 View Post
What Yamamoto did took guts.
I absolutely agree.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjkimura1976 View Post
Or is it just peoples reluctance to move someplace different after living in one place their entire lives?
Hardly. I mean, they are evacuees, so they are already living somewhere else from where they have been living their entire lives. On that account, it can hardly get worse, I assume.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjkimura1976 View Post
I don't understand (and correct me if I'm wrong) but why is the government dragging its feet regarding the evacuees of Fukushima? They are still in temporary housing, two years after the disaster. Is there something I'm missing?
Hm.
Quote:
Like any event on this scale, the catastrophe has brought out the best and worst in Japanese culture. While one cannot help but admire the stoicism, calmness and composure in dealing with the events in March, the lack of discussion about the future of nuclear energy, food safety and lessons learnt is shocking. [...] I've heard reports that folks from around Fukushima are already being stigmatized by other Japanese for being somehow "tainted".
(Source)
I have an answer to your question but it is not "the answer", obviously, but just what I think (based on some indisputable facts but not solely consisting of them). See for yourself if the following makes sense to you:

1. The Japanese government is doing their outmost to downplay the long-term consequences of the March 11-disaster (very successfully which you can see from the fact that they got the 2020 Olympics), and the international media has mostly lost interest in the issue, so lets first state what they (or rather: we, because this does not only concern Japan) are actually facing. Id like to quote Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama, the head of the Radioisotope Center at the University of Tokyo. On July 27, 2011, Kodama appeared as a witness to give testimony to the Committee on Welfare and Labor in Japan's Lower House in the Diet and delivered an impressing statement:
Quote:
[…] When we research the radiation injury/sickness, we look at the total amount of radioactive materials. But there is no definite report from TEPCO or the Japanese government as to exactly how much radioactive materials have been released from Fukushima. So, using our knowledge base at the Radioisotope Center, we calculated. Based on the thermal output, it is 29.6 times the amount released by the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima. In uranium equivalent, it is 20 Hiroshima bombs.

What is more frightening is that whereas the radiation from a nuclear bomb will decrease to one-thousandth in one year, the radiation from a nuclear power plant will only decrease to one-tenth. In other words, we should recognize from the start that just like Chernobyl, Fukushima I Nuke Plant has released radioactive materials equivalent in the amount to tens of nuclear bombs, and the resulting contamination is far worse than the contamination by a nuclear bomb. [...]
Already at the time, Kodama was clearly disgusted at how the government handled the situation. Kodama, obviously usually a calm, businesslike, very intelligent sort of guy, literally shouted at the politicians in the committee, his voice shaking with anger, “What on earth is the Diet doing, when 70,000 people are forced out of their homes and wandering?” (I have seen his statement on Youtube, but since - sadly, but not surprisingly - the original video has been removed. However, a part of it has been re-posted and, besides, somebody has fortunately taken the trouble of writing down a lot of what Kodama said, see here.)
So, we have to understand that (contrary to the governments official stance) several towns in the coast region of Fukushima are uninhabitable due to the nuclear disaster, and vast areas of coastal and central Fukushima are contaminated with nuclear fallout, and will remain so for quite some time. A lot of people will never in their lives be able to go back to where they once lived.
2. This being said, it cannot be denied that, although nobody could ever restore things to how they were before, the Japanese political and administrational authorities fail to do the things that could be done:
Quote:
About a quarter of the $148 billion budget for reconstruction after Japan's March 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster has been spent on unrelated projects, including subsidies for a contact lens factory and research whaling.

The findings of a government audit buttress complaints over shortcomings and delays in the reconstruction effort. More than half the budget is yet to be disbursed, stalled by indecision and bureaucracy, while nearly all of the 340,000 people evacuated from the disaster zone remain uncertain whether, when and how they will ever resettle. [...]

Among the unrelated projects benefiting from the reconstruction budgets are: road building in distant Okinawa; prison vocational training in other parts of Japan; subsidies for a contact lens factory in central Japan; renovations of government offices in Tokyo; aircraft and fighter pilot training, research and production of rare earths minerals, a semiconductor research project and even funding to support whaling, ostensibly for research, according to data from the government audit released last week.
News on Japan
Since this article was written, the government has changed, but I am afraid that this wont help the disaster victims much as the reasons for this mismanagement have - to my mind - remained the same:
3. I think I have before quoted somewhere a part of this comment that reflects on the potentially destructive consequences of "ganbatte":
Quote:
You hear this expression every day in Japan. "Do your best!" "Try harder!" "Stick to it!" "Don't give up!" are but a few of the positive messages conveyed. [...] However, recent events have exposed a problem with ganbatte. It's gone beyond being a harmless old saw, platitude or banality. It's become at best a sop, at worst a destructive mantra or shibboleth. It creates a downward cycle into apathy in the speaker, indifference in the afflicted. [...]

For example, take the recent slogans "Ganbare Nippon" or "Ganbare Tohoku" following the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters. Just telling victims to "do their best" in the face of such adversity (some of it the result of government corruption, human error and just plain hubris) is in fact insulting. [...]

Consider the Tohoku disaster victims. What they really need is assistance both physical and financial, and coordinated action by the authorities to help them reconstruct their lives in a place of their choosing.
Instead, look what they're getting: A government paralyzed by sloth, doling out underwhelming aid. A Parliament gridlocked by political party games. An ongoing nuclear situation whose resolution depends on a profoundly corrupt system more interested in controlling the flow of bad news to the public than in dealing with the problem in a trustworthy and forthright manner. [...]

To be sure, there have been demos, volunteerism and a groundswell of public support after Fukushima. But things like this tend to taper off quickly (as they do anywhere in the world) when media attention (or, in the case of dangers connected with Japan’s nuclear power industry, willful media nonattention) shifts and outlets eventually find different “news” to report.
If it’s not news, then people not immediately affected by a disaster tend to assume that things have naturally gotten fixed by us, the intrinsically industrious Japanese. We’ll check back in a few months or so.

Meanwhile, the government is supposed to take up the slack. But when it slacks off — as it has done once again with Fukushima — ganbatte even shifts the responsibility onto the victims to get over the hump themselves.
After all, if the tragedy didn’t happen in Tokyo, the center of Japan’s political and bureaucratic universe, the elites don’t much care. They’re busy with their own affairs, and the plebs in the provinces can “do their best” with what they have. We wish them well, of course, or at least we’ll say so. But if they don’t overcome their own hardships, maybe they didn’t try hard enough.
(Incidentally, this last thought often reminds me a lot of the situation with Masako. It is so much easier to blame the victims and tell them to just "try harder" than to get your act together and bring about necessary change - not just in Japan, incidentally.)

The emperor has made a point of regularly reminding people of the evacuees, not only by visits but also for example by writing waka poems about their situation. Without him, they might get even less attention and help. I suppose this is why Yamamoto appealed to him. Although it is pretty obvious that the emperor strongly disapproves of how the situation is being handled, it is absolutely possible that he does not even know of the worst facts, considering the degree in which he is sheltered from the public. Imo, it is absolutely credible what Yamamoto says: that he just wanted to make sure that the emperor has all the relevant info.
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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 emperors statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
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  #70  
Old 11-05-2013, 02:38 AM
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On November 3 Emperor Akihito handed out the Order of Culture medals during a ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.


** Pic ** kyodonews.jp: 5 presented with Order of Culture by Emperor **


** asahi.com: Actor Ken Takakura among 5 presented with top culture award **

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Old 11-11-2013, 02:44 AM
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Empress Michiko visited the exhibition 'Gustave Moreau et Georges Rouault: Filiation' at the Panasonic Shiodome Museum in Tokyo on November 7, 2013:



** Pic 1 ** Pic 2 **


And yesterday, November 10, Empress Michiko attended a concert by Izumi Tateno who plays with one hand only since a cerebral bleeding some years ago.



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Old 11-12-2013, 11:52 AM
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IMPERIAL FAMILY WATCH: After more than 300 official duties, empress retains friendly, funny personality

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Anti-nuclear Japanese lawmaker attacked from all sides for handing letter to Emperor Akihito

Mari Yamaguchi / The Associated Press
Quote:
A novice Japanese lawmaker who wanted to draw attention to the Fukushima nuclear crisis has caused an uproar by doing something taboo: handing a letter to the emperor. [...]

Many conservatives still consider the emperor and his family divine ("the people above the clouds") and believe a commoner shouldn't even talk to him. Decades ago, commoners were not even allowed to directly look at the emperor, but today Akihito does meet with ordinary people, including those in disaster-hit areas in northern Japan. [...]

Upper house president Masaaki Yamazaki summoned Yamamoto on Friday and reprimanded him verbally. He also barred him from future palace events, after a house committee determined the disciplinary steps earlier in the day. The decision did not specify what exactly Yamamoto did wrong, leaving the debate somewhat murky. It will be formally announced at a full meeting of the upper house next week. [...]

Yamamoto denied any intention to use the emperor for political purposes — a possible infringement of the postwar Constitution, which relegates the emperor to a non-political, ceremonial role. "My behaviour was indiscreet for a place like the garden party," Yamamoto said at a news conference Tuesday. "I just wanted the emperor to know the reality. I was frustrated by not being able to achieve any of my campaign promises yet." [...]

The Imperial Household Agency vice chief said Tuesday that Yamamoto's action was "inappropriate," and that the incident could affect operation of future palace public events. He said the agency has the letter, and Akihito hasn't read it.

Yamamoto's anti-nuclear stance makes him a target for conservatives in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which is pushing for a return to nuclear power. Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura called for Yamamoto's resignation.

A few people, including commentators and Yamamoto's sympathizers, liken him to Shozo Tanaka, a lawmaker seen as a hero for his 1901 appeal to Emperor Meiji, Akihito's great-grandfather, over copper mine pollution. Tanaka quit as lawmaker and divorced his wife beforehand to keep her out of trouble. He was detained but quickly freed.

Nakano said Yamamoto has at least drawn some public attention to the potential health risks faced by children from the Fukushima area and plant workers. "After all, he might have achieved part of his goals," Nakano said.

Japanese Lawmaker Reprimanded After Letter to Emperor Hits Nerve

Quote:
A Japanese lawmaker was reprimanded on Friday for breaking a taboo by trying to involve Emperor Akihito in politics when he handed him a letter expressing concerns about the health impact of the Fukushima nuclear crisis. [...]

The topic was also unwelcome for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, under pressure for his handling of the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. Abe faces demands from some in his party and from charismatic former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi to give up nuclear power altogether.
“There's a consensus in the ongoing political squabbles of the day that the emperor ought not be involved. It's crossed the line,” said Jeffrey Kingston, director of Asia studies at Temple University's Tokyo campus. “And clearly, nuclear energy is a huge political issue in Japan today.” [...]

Yamamoto, an actor and anti-nuclear activist elected to the upper house in July, said he had wanted to tell the emperor about the “endangered future” of Japanese children due to health problems from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which has been leaking radiation since being struck by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. About 150,000 people were evacuated after the disaster. A vast swathe of land remains off-limits while traces of radioactive contamination have been found in rice and far out in the Pacific Ocean. [...]

“The standard for 'political use' is not clear,” said Tomoaki Iwai, a political science professor at Nihon University. “The issue of nuclear reactors is a minus for the LDP, and that's one probable reason the reaction is so strong.” [...]

The only previous instance of an emperor being directly handed a letter was in 1901, by a former lawmaker protesting industrial pollution from a copper mine. He was arrested on the spot but helped set off a citizens' movement on the issue. [...]

“Using the emperor is something that's been done by the LDP government for quite a while now,” said Koichi Nakano, a political science professor at Sophia University. “I think [the problem] is it's touching upon a subject that's very much a taboo issue.”
News Navigator: Can lawmakers be removed from office?
Quote:
[...] Question: Can legislators be expelled from their job?

Answer: Yes, but there is only one way to forcibly remove lawmakers from office, which is stated under Article 58 of the Constitution. When a majority of two-thirds or more of house members at a plenary session pass a resolution, lawmakers can be expelled. [...]

Q: Some ruling Liberal Democratic Party politicians are saying that upper house members should pass a resolution to urge Yamamoto to resign. Can they do that?

A: Technically, yes. It is a resolution that pressures lawmakers to resign. Such a motion was first submitted to the upper house in 1965, and since then 37 cases targeting 16 lawmakers have been submitted to the lower and upper houses. Of these, four cases were passed. The house decision, however, has no legal grounds and is not binding.
EDITORIAL: Lawmakers must never cross the emperor-politics line
Quote:
Yamamoto, an independent elected to the Upper House for the first time in July by calling for an end to nuclear power generation, said he “just wanted, as an individual, to communicate to his majesty the grim realities about health damage to children (caused by the Fukushima nuclear disaster) and the sacrifice of workers (at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant) exposed to radiation.”
Yamamoto should have expressed his opinion at the Diet and made his case to fellow lawmakers. [...] His attempt to draw the emperor’s attention to the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster caused an immediate furor in the Diet. Lawmakers of both the ruling and opposition camps criticized him for having tried to “make political use” of the emperor. Some legislators even called for his resignation.
But neither the ruling Liberal Democratic Party nor the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan has a completely clean record regarding the sensitive issue of political exploitation of the emperor.
Governments led by both parties have made moves that could be seen as organized attempts to use the emperor for political purposes. [...]

In April this year, the Abe administration organized an event to mark the anniversary of Japan’s regaining sovereignty after World War II, attended by both Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. After the event, Abe and other attendants chanted, “Long live the emperor.” [...]

Attempts by opposing political parties to win over the emperor to their sides could threaten the unity of Japanese society. The emperor’s status as the symbol of national unity can only be preserved by keeping him at a clear distance from politics. There have been troubling signs that political circles are ignoring this obvious fact.
The loss of respect for the principle of keeping the emperor away from politics appears to indicate a declining quality of Japanese politics and the depth of the political division of the nation. [...]
Lawmaker banned from imperial events for giving emperor letter
Quote:
[...] Upper House President Masaaki Yamazaki proposed Friday that Yamamoto not be allowed to participate in any event hosted by the Imperial family for the remainder of his six-year year term unless the chamber decides to lift the ban, The Japan Times reported.

The Times said Yamamoto's name no longer would be on a list submitted to the Imperial Household Agency by the chamber's secretary of members who can participate in parties, ceremonies and other events hosted by the Imperial family.
Pic
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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 emperors statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
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  #73  
Old 11-12-2013, 12:02 PM
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I frankly do not understand why are they making so much ruckus out of it..I do not buy the arguement that Emperor is divine and shouldnt be touched/looked at/spoken to..
He is afterall the Head of the State, and every citizen has a direct connection to the Emperor and has a right to air their greviences to Him.
It is a different thing that Emperor should not be dragged into politics or policy-making or governance. But atleast he can ceremonially accept petitions and forward them to the necessary authorities, like other ceremonial Heads of State, and leave it for them to decide whether its relevant or not..
The point of having a hereditary constitutional monarch is an assurance to the common man that inspite of all selfish interests of politicians, there is one person above all this who unifies the nation and is always concerned about us..not some divine angel hiding behind the clouds..
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Old 11-12-2013, 12:37 PM
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The elephant in this room is, for one thing, that Japans emperors of the past 1000 years or so, as they did not wield political power themselves (most of the time), were, in fact, nearly always being used for political purposes. As can be seen also when looking at struggles of the past, the baseline used to be, though, that every political group would think that citing the emperors authority was quite o.k. as long as they did it themselves but disgusting if an opposing group attempted the same... It goes without saying that this was (and is!) most of the time sheer hypocrisy:
OSIIOIIDI *
Quote:
[...] Last month, Grand Steward Kazaoka Noriyuki questioned the propriety of the government's urging Princess Hisako to travel to Buenos Aires in order to shore up the Tokyo bid for the 2020 Olympics. Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide gave Kazaoka a public tongue lashing for having the gall to try to divine what their Imperial Majesties were thinking about the Princess' trip. (Link)

Princess Hisako's participation led to questions from all quarters regarding the use of the Imperial institution to political ends (Link). [...]

The political taint of Princess Hisako's dispatch to Buenos Aires pales, of course, besides the government decision to have their Imperial Majesties preside over the first official commemoration of the anniversary of the end of the Allied Occupation. That celebration, fraught from the outset by the slap to the face it delivers to Okinawa (Link) descended into farce when the hopped up hyper-patriot almost exclusively LDP and Japan Restoration Party attendees hooted out a triple Long live the Emperor! (Tenno heika banzai!) at the clearly uncomfortable Imperial Couple. (Link)
* Oh Sure, It Is OK If I Do It

The other fact that plays a role here is that Yamamoto has addressed highly sensitive issues in more than one respect. Like the political science professor quoted above remarked (I think [the problem] is it's touching upon a subject that's very much a taboo issue.), the whole Fukushima question is not the governments favourite subject (to put it very politely). Besides, while Yamamoto may think that his action will seem pardonable if he makes it understood that all he wanted to do was to inform the emperor, this is hardly the case, considering that the government is presently planning to pass a law that would, as it seems, enable them to forbid giving info to whatever person about basically whatever issue:
Quote:
Prime Minister Shinzo Abes government is planning a state secrets act that critics say could curtail public access to information on a wide range of issues, including tensions with China and the Fukushima nuclear crisis. The new law would dramatically expand the definition of official secrets and journalists convicted under it could be jailed for up to five years. [...]

Critics see parallels between the new law and Abes drive to revise Japans U.S.-drafted, post-war constitution to stress citizens duties over civil rights, part of a conservative agenda that includes a stronger military and recasting Japans wartime history with a less apologetic tone. [...]

Legal and media experts say the law, which would impose harsh penalties on those who leak secrets or try to obtain them, is too broad and vague, making it impossible to predict what would come under its umbrella. The lack of an independent review process leaves wide latitude for abuse, they say.

Basically, this bill raises the possibility that the kind of information about which the public should be informed is kept secret eternally, Tadaaki Muto, a lawyer and member of a task force on the bill at the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, told Reuters. [...] Media watchdogs fear the law would seriously hobble journalists ability to investigate official misdeeds and blunders, including the collusion between regulators and utilities that led to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. [...]

This may very well be Abes true intention - cover-up of mistaken state actions regarding the Fukushima disaster and/or the necessity of nuclear power, said Sophia University political science professor Koichi Nakano.
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(Following recent incidents, I would like to refer anybody who may think the emperors statement obvious or redundant to this thread, post #682.)
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  #75  
Old 11-14-2013, 11:19 AM
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Yesterday, November 13, Emperor Akihito visited the exhibition 'Soul of Meiji - Edward Sylvester Morse, his day by day with kindhearted people' at the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Tokyo.



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Old 11-19-2013, 11:43 AM
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New US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy has presented her credentials to Emperor Akihito at the Imperial Palace on November 19, 2013.



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** nbcnews.com: Caroline Kennedy meets Japan emperor, arriving by horse-drawn carriage **


** nationalpost.com: FKs daughter Caroline travels to Japans imperial palace in a carriage to meet Emperor Akihito **

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Old 11-19-2013, 12:18 PM
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The photos of the surroundings were lovely. The ceremony was perfect.
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:38 PM
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Very impressive. I wonder why Caroline was not dressed more formally? I remember when Sidney Poitier was served as ambassador to Japan and presented his credentials to the Emperor he was dressed in tie and tails and the Emperor and Empress were attired in formal evening wear.
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Old 11-21-2013, 02:21 AM
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European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy were received by Emperor Akihito for an audience at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on November 19.



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Old 11-22-2013, 03:18 AM
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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited the Musashino Imperial Graveyard on November 20, 2013.



** Pic 1 ** Pic 2 ** Pic 3 **

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