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  #121  
Old 08-28-2020, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
The Japanese PM, Shinto Abe, will resign for health reason.

He has been dominating Japanese politics for many years, and no matter what he resignation will also affect the Imperial Family, both directly and indirectly - and perhaps not least in regards to the succession issues.

Shinto Abe is a nationalist, who among other things, increased military spendings and wished to give Japan a more activist and military role abroad.
He has also been unapologetic in regards to Japans atrocities during WWII. - In contrast to the Imperial Family.

No doubt because Abe's grandfather was imprisoned for alleged war-crimes after WWII but not charged.
So admitting a national guilt, might very well also be admitting a family-guilt - and thus losing face.
A sentiment he is far from being alone in having in the current Japanese top echelons of the society.

Who will be the next PM, will be decisive for the Imperial Family, in regards to their personal relations with the government, in regards to their ideology and in regards to the succession issues.
Will the new PM be open for a female being the reigning emperor? Or will he (it's more than likely to be a man) be completely dismissive?
Thank you for this post! I was wondering about these questions you raised.

It is worth mentioning for readers that the coming party leadership election in September will only fill the vacancy for the remaining year of Abe Shinzo's term as leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (and thus prime minister), and according to news reports the eligible voters in this provisional election may be limited, perhaps to the members of the parliamentary party, who are seen as likely to choose a successor close to Mr. Abe. So it is possible that the next prime minister will have to step down in favor of a very different PM after September 2021, when the party holds its next regularly scheduled leadership election, or even that Mr. Abe could make a comeback in that election if his health has improved.

In terms of relations between the government and the monarchy I suppose the most urgent issue would be the emperor's potential role in the coronavirus response. Could the new PM invite or pressure the Emperor to be more (or less) visible, or is the entire political establishment indifferent to that?
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  #122  
Old 08-29-2020, 03:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatiana Maria View Post
Thank you for this post! I was wondering about these questions you raised.

It is worth mentioning for readers that the coming party leadership election in September will only fill the vacancy for the remaining year of Abe Shinzo's term as leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (and thus prime minister), and according to news reports the eligible voters in this provisional election may be limited, perhaps to the members of the parliamentary party, who are seen as likely to choose a successor close to Mr. Abe. So it is possible that the next prime minister will have to step down in favor of a very different PM after September 2021, when the party holds its next regularly scheduled leadership election, or even that Mr. Abe could make a comeback in that election if his health has improved.

In terms of relations between the government and the monarchy I suppose the most urgent issue would be the emperor's potential role in the coronavirus response. Could the new PM invite or pressure the Emperor to be more (or less) visible, or is the entire political establishment indifferent to that?
Interesting questions.
First the party-leader (and likely next PM) question.
Who will take over depends basically on four questions:

A) The economic politics. Abenomics as it is called. Which is very simplified to pump money for spending out into the system while carrying out large public projects.
It has been a very popular policy in Japan, because people have more money to spend. But it also means that the worlds third largest economy have only paid off the interests to its huge debt. Japans debt has not been reduced since the 1990! Japan has basically been living on credit for 25 years.
Will the party change course?

B) The nationalist politics.
Will Japan continue its nationalist policy with deliberately sweeping its past under the rug? To the great annoyance of it's neighbors. Pretty much all its neighbors! Including a more nationalist USA under President Trump, because the Trump administration may not be willing to cover Japans back.
Nationalism is always popular (until you lose a war) and it's the basis for the party. So the question really to what extent will Japan become nationalist under the new leader? More or less?

C) Is there a crown prince in the party?
If there isn't the new leader may indeed be an interim figure until the various factions within the party can agree on a better one.

D) Is the new leader palatable for the coalition parties?
If the new leader is too controversial, the government might fragment and even fall. Leading to a considerable political crisis in Japan.

Then the question of the Imperial Family.
As a nationalist and conservative government the IF is crucial - provided they keep their mouths shut. Pretty much as it has been in Japan for many centuries.
The IF may have something to bargain with here, in return for being more visible, preferably also in regards to nationalist symbolism, the government could soften up on the succession issue.
But it's a gamble! The IF has traditionally been staunch supporters of the pacifist Japanese Constitution and as such been a moderating symbol for Japans neighbors. A change in that would not be seen favorably in particular in South Korea and China.
And with USA focusing on staring down China in the South China Sea it won't exactly decrease tensions.

A new leader will have to consolidate his political position before being able to pressure the IF to do something they don't want to. Like de facto ignoring sound Corona precautions. So the answer to that in the short term is: No.
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  #123  
Old 08-30-2020, 04:30 AM
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Thank you very much, Muhler!

I have a lot of questions about this developping story, but I am afraid, they are impossible to answer, since they touch the realm of the conspiracies.

Japan is deeply in debt (more than 230% debt to gdp!!!), but everybody is saying, that is no problem at all, since the creditors are largely the Japanese themselves... Well, they printed a lot of money and the Bank of Japan bought a lot of dodgy debt! And their money flooded the world (Yen carry trade). There will "things" happen, if the "Abenomics" you mentioned comes now to an end! It could easily trigger a worldwide stock market correction!

And this leads to my conspiracy questions: Is Abe really of bad health... - or was he forced to step back?

Will we see after the new Yen an even newer one, say via a currency reform?

Will the Big Boys of Japan send out the Emperor to calm down the masses? Will we perhaps even see a new "Meiji-Restauration"?

Well, the future is inherently unknown! But if one at least knew, why Abe is stepping back, one could easier predict, what will happen...

In any case: Banzai and Good Luck to Japan!
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  #124  
Old 08-30-2020, 06:03 AM
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These are questions that should preferably not be asked.

Japan is in a different situation debt-wise than say the South-East Asian economies some years ago. You may recall that the economic bubble there suddenly burst.
Very simplified it all started with a big lender saying: "I want my money! Now!"
When no such physical, real money could be obtained, it started a chain reaction and the economy collapsed.

No Japanese creditors will do that.

And being the third largest economy in the world, Japan will not be allowed to collapse financially.
Nor will the US economy, despite that fact that the debt means that USA is de facto insolvent.
Nor will anyone answer this question: What is the real value of the Chinese Yuan?
The EU-economy is based on Merkelnomics = Austerity. With the result that half the EU countries are struggling because they can't invest their way out their crisis, because that means taking out massive loans.

All that is possible if the fragile economic stability worldwide is maintained.
That means do not rock the boat by starting trade wars between major economic powers and do not demand too much money from your debtors!
And keep the global trade going at all costs! Don't go protectionist and start producing (and protecting) products at home. - Protectionism is the biggest danger Japan is facing!
Japan cannot survive on producing for their own home market and to a number of relatively small markets. So no trade barriers. No 50-50 trade policy, in regards to export and import.
And that is the policy of the Trump administration.

Japan cannot, and will not, import products from USA on anything remotely resembling a 50-50 level. So the imposed trade barriers that could become a result of that would be pure poison for the Japanese economy!
The only thing Japan can import from USA that would create a satisfactory amount of jobs in USA (because that's what it is all about) is arms. That is Japan will have to rearm, big time! Increasing the Japanese debt a lot more.
None of Japans neighbors will be happy about that, nor will the Japanese public!
The alternative is for Japan to start reducing its debt. And that means goodbye to Abenomics and an end to the Japanese consumer-party they have had for almost a generation now.
That won't be popular either! Not least because it will inevitably mean loss of jobs because the domestic market will be reduced for Japanese products.
The normal solution would be for Japan to increase production and dump the prizes. But China, USA, EU and South Korea will do the same and likely impose trade barriers. Not to mention that the Japanese population is shrinking in the decades to come. Making it more difficult to increase production. And will Japan begin to import millions of foreign workers to fill the places?

So what to do?
If anyone has got the answer, there is a Nobel Prize in Economy waiting for you.

The Japanese economy will not be allowed to fall, but they may have to accept some terms, they cannot refuse.

-----------

Yes, I believe Abe does have a bad health. It is indeed an unfortunate time to change the PM, because Japan really needs someone very experienced and strong at the helm for the next few years, regardless of whether you agree with Abe's policy or not.

----------

The Imperial Family has no interest in, and should not, being associated with the government's policy. Especially if serious and unpleasant economic reforms are to be implemented.
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  #125  
Old 08-30-2020, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
Interesting questions.
First the party-leader (and likely next PM) question.
Who will take over depends basically on four questions:

A) The economic politics. Abenomics as it is called. Which is very simplified to pump money for spending out into the system while carrying out large public projects.
It has been a very popular policy in Japan, because people have more money to spend. But it also means that the worlds third largest economy have only paid off the interests to its huge debt. Japans debt has not been reduced since the 1990! Japan has basically been living on credit for 25 years.
Will the party change course?

B) The nationalist politics.
Will Japan continue its nationalist policy with deliberately sweeping its past under the rug? To the great annoyance of it's neighbors. Pretty much all its neighbors! Including a more nationalist USA under President Trump, because the Trump administration may not be willing to cover Japans back.
Nationalism is always popular (until you lose a war) and it's the basis for the party. So the question really to what extent will Japan become nationalist under the new leader? More or less?

C) Is there a crown prince in the party?
If there isn't the new leader may indeed be an interim figure until the various factions within the party can agree on a better one.

D) Is the new leader palatable for the coalition parties?
If the new leader is too controversial, the government might fragment and even fall. Leading to a considerable political crisis in Japan.

Then the question of the Imperial Family.
As a nationalist and conservative government the IF is crucial - provided they keep their mouths shut. Pretty much as it has been in Japan for many centuries.
The IF may have something to bargain with here, in return for being more visible, preferably also in regards to nationalist symbolism, the government could soften up on the succession issue.
But it's a gamble! The IF has traditionally been staunch supporters of the pacifist Japanese Constitution and as such been a moderating symbol for Japans neighbors. A change in that would not be seen favorably in particular in South Korea and China.
And with USA focusing on staring down China in the South China Sea it won't exactly decrease tensions.

A new leader will have to consolidate his political position before being able to pressure the IF to do something they don't want to. Like de facto ignoring sound Corona precautions. So the answer to that in the short term is: No.
Thank you for your interesting thoughts, Muhler.

I am actually not sure whether nationalists would prefer the emperor to be more or less visible in relation to coronavirus measures. As you pointed out, in the normal course of events, they are in favor of an imperial family which keeps its mouth shut and remains behind palace walls, but in this time of public disaffectedness with the government's pandemic response I wonder if some of them might welcome the emperor lending his credibility to the government. Not of course by explicitly endorsing the government's measures, as that would cross an unacceptable political line, but perhaps in the vein of being given a more visible position next to government officials at coronavirus-related meetings.

The Prime Minister has, contrary to what some expected, refused to anoint a "crown prince", but it sounds as if the voting methodology for this special election will stack the deck in favor of candidates who represent continuity. I don't think there is any prospect of Komeito ending its coalition with the Liberal Democratic Party, and if there were, the LDP establishment would never elect the candidate who would risk the fall of the government.
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  #126  
Old 08-30-2020, 11:11 PM
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Regarding PM Abe's health issue of ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease; back in September 2007 after serving for only 1 year, Shinzo Abe had to step down as Japan's youngest Prime Minister for the same health issues. After recovering he returned back to the office of Prime Minister in 2012.
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  #127  
Old 09-05-2020, 07:26 AM
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We now know who will replace PM Abe, as the new party leader, and as such also the new PM, for the present.
Yoshihide Suga, Chief Cabinet Secretary, 71 years old. A loyal supporter and clone of PM Abe.

He will officially be chosen and appointed by the part on the 14th September, but as he has the backing of the stronger party wings, he is sure to be elected.

- As expected. PM Abe made the safe choice and elected someone he believe will continue the current political line and a choice that doesn't rock the boat.
Yoshihide Suga's position so far suggests to me that he is the chief whip and/or the closest political advisor.
It will be interesting to see if he has the political strength, diplomatic sense and not least stamina to take over in the long run.
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  #128  
Old 09-05-2020, 09:22 AM
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I think it is a shame that Shinzo Abe had to resign, as I regarded him to be quite a successful PM. I remember when Japan went through a period of changing PMs quite regularly, something that we did here not long ago.
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  #129  
Old 09-09-2020, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
- As expected. PM Abe made the safe choice and elected someone he believe will continue the current political line and a choice that doesn't rock the boat.
Yes, in spite of the initial reports that Mr. Abe would not endorse a successor it seems that, in private, he let it be known that he wanted Mr. Suga in the top position.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/20...ga-race-japan/


Quote:
Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
Yoshihide Suga's position so far suggests to me that he is the chief whip and/or the closest political advisor.
It will be interesting to see if he has the political strength, diplomatic sense and not least stamina to take over in the long run.
If there is one view which all commentators in the Western press can apparently agree on, it is that Mr. Suga was a clever and talented political advisor who made major contributions to the PM's political success.
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  #130  
Old 09-22-2020, 04:43 PM
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Reiwa 3 (2021) calendar

https://www.kikuyou.or.jp/hanpu/calender.html

I'm disappointed the calendar doesn't use new photos for everyone. The 2021 calendar features new photos for the Emperor Emeritus, Empress Emerita and Akishino family.

Click image for larger version

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  #131  
Old 11-28-2020, 04:10 PM
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Gifts of fruit to the Imperial family.

On November 18th, 5 people from a local persimmon promotion council in Ishioka, Ibaraki Prefecture selected 72 Fuyu persimmons from 186 for the Imperial family. Producers in Ishioka have gifted persimmons since 1955.

On November 25th, 6 staff at Aizu Regional Development Bureau in Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture packed 270 Aizu persimmons for the Imperial family. The gift began in 1928 when Setsuko Matsudaira, granddaughter of Katamori Matsudaira (the last daimyō of the Aizu Domain), married Prince Chichibu. Gifting was interrupted during WWII and resumed annually afterward.

On November 26th, officials in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture selected 336 apples for the Imperial family. The gift started in 1940 when Prince Chichibu was a member of the 23rd Cavalry Regiment in Morioka and resumed in 1949.

Sources/photos: Sankei, minpo.jp, Sankei 2
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  #132  
Old 01-02-2021, 07:57 PM
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Emperor's evacuation to Kyoto weighed after Fukushima nuclear disaster - Kyodo News
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The government led by the now-defunct Democratic Party of Japan unofficially proposed that then Emperor Akihito evacuate to Kyoto or somewhere further in the west from Tokyo immediately after the start of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, a former administration official has said.

However, the Imperial Household Agency flatly dismissed the idea, saying there was "no way" the emperor would do it at a time when people were not evacuating from Tokyo, leading to the government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan to give up the proposal.

Several former senior officials at the prime minister's office separately said the then DPJ administration also briefly considered evacuating Prince Hisahito, the son of Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko, from Tokyo to Kyoto.

[...]

Kan, a House of Representatives member now belonging to the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, admitted he was "thinking in my head" of evacuating the emperor at the time but denied he had conveyed the idea to the then emperor or suggested it to someone else.

However, according to the former Kan administration official, at Kan's request he unofficially asked Shingo Haketa, then chief of the Imperial Household Agency, via a mediator whether Emperor Akihito would agree to evacuate from the Imperial Palace, possibly to the Kyoto Imperial Palace in the ancient capital in western Japan.

A former agency official said he remembers the agency turned down the proposal.

Asked whether the agency actually conveyed the evacuation proposal to the emperor, he said "maybe, but only after" saying no to the administration.

[...]

Yutaka Kawashima, who was the agency's grand chamberlain at the time, wrote in a magazine article shortly after the triple disaster, "It is utterly inconceivable for his majesty to abandon the people of Tokyo and leave Tokyo," as rumors had circulated about the emperor escaping the capital.

[...]
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  #133  
Old 01-02-2021, 08:34 PM
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Interesting but no surprises there.

The safety of the Emperor is the duty of any Japanese government, so naturally the idea about evacuating him would be considered - and in this case aired to the court.

Equally natural is the idea that the Emperor would refuse such a plan outright, giving the circumstances of no general evacuation.

An interesting question is what would have happened had the government "strongly urged" = ordered the Emperor to Kyoto.
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  #134  
Old 01-03-2021, 07:04 AM
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That is a thoughtful symbolic gesture, to voluntarily sacrifice electricity two hours a day in solidarity with citizens experiencing rolling blackouts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
Equally natural is the idea that the Emperor would refuse such a plan outright, giving the circumstances of no general evacuation.

An interesting question is what would have happened had the government "strongly urged" = ordered the Emperor to Kyoto.
I wondered why the IHA allegedly refused the plan before consulting the emperor. Because there was no doubt what his sentiments on receiving "special treatment" would be? Because the decision was urgent? To protect him from charges of being politically involved if the decision to accept or refuse evacuation could be viewed as a political statement about the government's handling of the disaster?
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  #135  
Old 01-03-2021, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatiana Maria View Post
I wondered why the IHA allegedly refused the plan before consulting the emperor. Because there was no doubt what his sentiments on receiving "special treatment" would be? Because the decision was urgent? To protect him from charges of being politically involved if the decision to accept or refuse evacuation could be viewed as a political statement about the government's handling of the disaster?
Hmm, perhaps.

I tend to believe that the government decided to informally ask: Is the Emperor concerned about his safety and that of his family?
Not in these exact words of course, but if the reply was affirmative, the government would then formally "request" the Emperor or at least his family be evacuated to Kyoto. Something the Emperor would feel "duty bound" to follow.

Of course the Emperor's staff would know his opinion before this meeting.

Most things are decided in the corridors before they become official.

ADDED:
Even going public with this serves a purpose:
A: Showing that the government was concerned about the Emperor's sacred person (it is a conservative government.)
B: And showing that the Emperor would naturally not abandon his people in times of peril.
- And everybody are happy.
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  #136  
Old 01-09-2021, 04:48 PM
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On January 9th, the Imperial Guard Headquarters announced a male escort officer in his 50s has Covid-19. There is no contact with the Imperial family and no other staff reports poor physical condition. The officer belongs to security division 1 and hasn't been to work since the 7th. He had a fever on the 9th and underwent a PCR test at a medical institution, confirming the infection.

Source: Sankei
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  #137  
Old 01-12-2021, 05:31 PM
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On January 12th, the Imperial Guard Headquarters announced another male escort officer in his 50s has Covid-19. There is no contact with the Imperial family. The officer belongs to the Liberal Arts division. He had a fever on the 9th, took a PCR test on the 10th, and confirmed infection on the 12th. The route of infection is unknown.

This is 4th person infected with the new coronavirus at the Imperial Guard.

Source: Sankei
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