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  #981  
Old 06-10-2017, 08:55 PM
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The Imperial family and public vs. LDP | The Japan Times
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NHK has become the go-to media outlet for scoops on the Imperial family. In July, the public broadcaster was the first to break the news that the Emperor wanted to step down and, last month, it was the first to report Princess Mako’s intention to marry a man she met at university. Both stories annoyed the government, which prefers that disclosure of information about Imperial matters follow strict protocols.

The press’ main excuse for ignoring official channels in this way is that the public likes the Emperor and the Imperial family, so the scoops are popular. It should be noted, however, that one of these channels is the Imperial Household Agency, which controls all interactions with the palace.

The aforementioned stories were the results of deliberate leaks from an inside source, so despite initial IHA complaints that reporting them was premature, the agency seems to be at odds with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. The IHA is beholden to the Imperial family before it is beholden to the government, and it follows that it was the wishes of persons in the Imperial family that these two stories make their way to the people before passing through the LDP filter.

This convoluted conduit of intention is necessary because, legally speaking, what the Imperial family wants is immaterial. Any expression on the part of the Emperor with regard to his status and that of his relations is inherently political in nature, and, according to the Constitution, the symbolic head of the country is supposed to be above politics, or at least outside of it.

But the Emperor has always taken his symbolic leadership more seriously than has the LDP.

[…]

The story of Princess Mako’s betrothal follows a similar route of intrigue. Apparently, the media knew about the boyfriend a long time ago and said nothing until someone in the IHA told NHK it was OK to report it. During a discussion of the scoop on the May 23 installment of Bunka Hoso’s “Golden Radio” program, cultural critic Maki Fukasawa speculated that Princess Mako herself wanted to affect discussion of the abdication issue with regard to the status of female members of the Imperial family by conveying her intention to wed a commoner.

“To me that means women in the royal family think they have to get married as soon as possible,” Fukusawa said. Due to the shortage of male heirs at the moment, rules could be changed to allow women to stay in the palace even after they get hitched. According to the Imperial House Law (Koshitsu Tenpan), women must leave the Imperial family if they marry outside of it. A May 19 Asahi Shimbun article claimed that some people in the government say they would be happy to allow female members to remain after they marry if their mates are also royalty, which would mean reinstating Imperial branches that were dropped after World War II by order of the occupying Americans.

In an article in the June 1 issue of the weekly magazine Shukan Shincho, a palace reporter said that Princess Mako’s mother, Princess Kiko, was once in favor of marrying her two daughters off to former royalty if it would keep them in the Imperial household, but once Princess Mako confirmed that she will wed a commoner, Kiko changed her mind. Nevertheless, it seems Kiko thought that female members could contribute to the heir pool, an idea that is anathema to conservatives in the government, which are lead by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and whose opinions are articulated by the lobbying group Japan Conference (Nippon Kaigi). They are worried that the abdication issue could clear a path for female succession

[…] It doesn’t matter that, in a Kyodo News Service survey, 86 percent of the respondents said they don’t mind a female emperor. Since the Emperor is constitutionally defined as the symbol of the people, it matters what the people think, but to Abe, it’s all about the imagined purity of the patriarchal bloodline, a concept that seems to have no meaning to the average person.

[…]

In the end, opposition parties attached a resolution to the abdication bill that said the government would discuss this matter in the future. However, the LDP made sure to add a phrase that took female succession out of the debate. Since these talks will not start until after the Emperor abdicates, which probably won’t occur until the end of 2018 at the earliest, it’s easy to predict that they will just be postponed indefinitely. Abe reportedly is opposed to such discussions.

By that time, Princess Mako will have married, thus leaving the Imperial family minus one working member, a development that “worries the Imperial Household Agency,” according to an editorial in the Chugoku Shimbun. Keeping living symbols relevant and busy is hard work, but somebody has to do it.
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  #982  
Old 06-11-2017, 12:24 AM
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I read that article yesterday and found it very interesting.
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  #983  
Old 06-11-2017, 03:12 AM
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Beholden to the Imperial Family before the government? I dunno.
Sometimes it seems to me that the IHA is pretty parasitic. So of course they are dependent on the Imperial Family for their own existence, and that means they have to justify their own existence. First and foremost by IMO being very bureaucratic! But also by "confining" the members of the Imperial Family within frames of rituals and cannots. - Lest someone might come up with the bright idea of slimming down the agency...
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  #984  
Old 06-11-2017, 05:35 PM
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Yea, I'd say the IHA is beholden to the institution of monarchy rather than the family. The Prime Minister appoints the IHA's Grand Steward (and maybe other positions?) so I expect some level of deferment to the government while somewhat accounting for the wishes of the Imperial family. From reports, Emperor Akihito wished to abdicate years earlier but the IHA couldn't figure out exactly how or when to break the news until the NHK leak.

I'm not sure about the Princess Kiko story. It's possible she'd encourage her daughters to find husbands from the former Imperial branches in case restoration happens. The consensus seems to be she risked her own health to have Prince Hisahito so why not ask her daughters to make some sacrifice? Japanese values favor a group's needs over the individual's. Yet she married Prince Akishino for love so I believe she'd accept her daughters' picks anyway.
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  #985  
Old 06-30-2017, 01:31 AM
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Imperial succession issue neglected | The Japan Times
Quote:
It was on the evening of May 16 when public broadcaster NHK broke the news that Princess Mako, 25, the eldest daughter of Prince Akishino, would soon become engaged to a commoner. This came close on the heels of an agreement between the ruling and opposition parties on a one-off piece of legislation to permit the abdication of the aging Emperor Akihito, and the focus of political discussion was about to shift to the question whether female members of the Imperial family should be allowed to create their own branch in the family when they marry, instead of leaving the family under the current rules. The abdication bill was formally endorsed by the Cabinet three days later.

The timing was reminiscent of what happened last July, when, three days after the Upper House election, NHK broke an exclusive report that the Emperor would shortly deliver a message expressing his wish to retire.

These two events appear to be more than coincidental, since it is inconceivable that the subject matter of both news reports would be made public without advance approval by the Emperor and Empress. That quickly led to political speculation over possible messages in the latest report.

[…]

Conservatives repeatedly suggest an alternative in which male members of families that lost Imperial status right after World War II would be brought back into the Imperial family as potential heirs. The prime minister is said to have privately noted that he would be open to creating a female branch of the Imperial family if one of its female members is to marry an offspring of such former Imperial family members on the paternal lineage. A former grand steward of the Imperial Household Agency laments, however, that it is next to impossible to find a person with such qualifications.

Back in November 2005, an advisory body to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi issued a report stating that either a woman or a man of maternal lineage should be in line to the throne — and that the eldest of the siblings born to an emperor should take precedence. Before the report was released, the government secretly surveyed the situations of former Imperial family members and their possible intentions to return to the family’s fold. However, the probe found that there were no such males who could possibly return to the family. It has been confirmed that the male-only paternal lineage succession will someday be doomed — and that’s why the suggestion was made for paving the way for reigning empresses and maternal lineage succession, but Abe, who took over from Koizumi, turned down the recommendation, and 12 years have passed without any other solution considered, says the former grand steward.

Abe's inaction

When an insider of the Imperial Household Agency accused the government of taking no action, a senior government official denied that Abe was obstructing changes to succession rules — but said that the prime minister was simply not interested in matters of the Imperial family. He suggested that Abe does not have a strong opinion himself about Imperial family issues but is merely opposing the creation of female branches in the family to secure support from conservative forces — and the bureaucrats and the LDP follow his line.

The Democratic Party may not be much different. Former Prime Minister and DP Secretary-General Yoshihiko Noda, a leading advocate of creating female Imperial family branches, remains uncommitted on allowing reigning empresses and maternal lineage succession. He does not appear ready to take the lead for reforming the male-only paternal lineage succession rules. […]

An Imperial Household Agency source says the imminent engagement of Princess Mako is likely not meant to prod political discussion on the creation of the female Imperial family branches, but reflects her wish to lead a free life as a young lady, adding that her father must feel the same way. Political inaction and the indifference of society is pushing the Imperial family ever closer to extinction.
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  #986  
Old 06-30-2017, 06:04 AM
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In other words: if the PM close his eyes long enough, the problem will probably go away all by itself.

And the suggestion is indeed bordering on being ludicrous. That would imply an arranged marriage within an already limited extended family. It would be difficult enough to avoid incest!
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  #987  
Old 12-02-2017, 12:29 PM
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Moving Toward Abdication / Working to ensure stable Imperial succession no easy task - The Japan News
Quote:
At a plenary session of the House of Councillors on Nov. 22, representatives of political parties raised questions about the Imperial succession.

[…]

The additional resolution of a special measures law to enable abdication by the Emperor stipulates the government will discuss “various issues to ensure a stable Imperial succession, the creation of female Imperial branches and other issues, swiftly after the law comes into force.”

The special measures law is expected to take effect on April 30, 2019, the day of abdication for the Emperor. Based on the words of the prime minister, there are still 1½ years before the start of full discussions.

[…] This is due to deep-rooted concern among conservatives that the creation of female Imperial branches could lead to a female-line emperor, as a child born in a female Imperial branch could succeed to the throne.

“We should crush discussions on the creation of female Imperial branches,” said a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party who attended a meeting of a project team tasked with examining the Imperial household system on June 15. Other LDP members of the project team, which is under a suprapartisan group of Diet members who support the Japan Conference, expressed strong opposition to the creation of female Imperial branches.

Judging from his past statements, Abe himself is believed to be an opponent of female Imperial branches. When answering a question from a political party representative on Nov. 22, Abe showed a cautious attitude, saying, “We’ll cautiously and carefully examine the issue while keeping in mind the significance of history, in which the male-line succession system has been maintained since ancient times without exception, and other issues.”

[…]

To reduce the burden of official duties on the remaining Imperial family members, there also is a plan to allow married women to continue their Imperial activities under the status of national public officials. The plan was discussed within the government several years ago. However, it was shelved because an agreement could not be reached between the Prime Minister’s Office, which wanted to expand the scope of women who would be entrusted with such activities, and the Imperial Household Agency, which wished to narrow down the scope, according to informed sources.

[…]
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  #988  
Old 12-02-2017, 02:17 PM
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I don't want to sound unsympathetic to tradition and Japanese customs but this really seems ridiculous now. The way these 'conservatives' are going there will be no Imperial Family in few decades and they can look forward to a Japanese President.

Is there any chance when the CP becomes Emperor he could help push through more reforms to help the succession issue?
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  #989  
Old 12-02-2017, 03:28 PM
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Agree, Tommy100.

But it's a rearguard action, necessity and the change in the public mood will make a change inevitable.

I think unless Naruhito address the problem himself, the current government will do (or more correctly ignore) anything and insist on keeping their heads buried in the sand.
If emperor Naruhito goes public with the issue, perhaps in response to a question from a foreign reporter..., the public will likely side with him I'm convinced.
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  #990  
Old 12-02-2017, 03:51 PM
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Didn't someone(s) explain here in the last year or so, how the Emperor is not allowed to speak publicly on the issue? That he can only deliver speeches as written by the Government?

And before there is wild reaction, this is a bit like Queen Elizabeth delivering a written speech at the opening of Parliament; like the general dictum that the BRF not speak about political issues. Not that most other Royal Families plump for political issues all that much. And let's not drift off topic here and onto that.

But in Japan this might be handled in ways similar to other monarchies. Speak privately to the PM and other senior members of government. Seem above it while the public/politicos see there are few alternatives and then proceed as if there is no important reason to not do so.

I am very sure this is a very big pill to swallow in Japan. Time will play out this hand. I tell myself that all the time about the politics around me and mine.
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  #991  
Old 12-02-2017, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommy100 View Post
I don't want to sound unsympathetic to tradition and Japanese customs but this really seems ridiculous now. The way these 'conservatives' are going there will be no Imperial Family in few decades and they can look forward to a Japanese President.

Is there any chance when the CP becomes Emperor he could help push through more reforms to help the succession issue?
Japan has collateral branches, which can be re-instated. http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums...ily-33972.html
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  #992  
Old 12-02-2017, 10:10 PM
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With the Emperor and Empress retiring, Mako getting married and Masako not able to travel much internationally, my hope is that in the next 5 years at least a few junior princesses will also marry therefore making the shrinking royal family glaringly obvious even to the deniers. Has anyone heard any rumours about the 4 Mikasa and Takamado princesses marrying?
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  #993  
Old 12-02-2017, 11:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Princess Larisa View Post
With the Emperor and Empress retiring, Mako getting married and Masako not able to travel much internationally, my hope is that in the next 5 years at least a few junior princesses will also marry therefore making the shrinking royal family glaringly obvious even to the deniers. Has anyone heard any rumours about the 4 Mikasa and Takamado princesses marrying?
The Japanese royals are quite private. I doubt we would know anything about their dating life until one of them is engaged. As of yet, none of them are.
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  #994  
Old 12-03-2017, 03:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdmirerUS View Post
Didn't someone(s) explain here in the last year or so, how the Emperor is not allowed to speak publicly on the issue? That he can only deliver speeches as written by the Government?

And before there is wild reaction, this is a bit like Queen Elizabeth delivering a written speech at the opening of Parliament; like the general dictum that the BRF not speak about political issues. Not that most other Royal Families plump for political issues all that much. And let's not drift off topic here and onto that.

But in Japan this might be handled in ways similar to other monarchies. Speak privately to the PM and other senior members of government. Seem above it while the public/politicos see there are few alternatives and then proceed as if there is no important reason to not do so.

I am very sure this is a very big pill to swallow in Japan. Time will play out this hand. I tell myself that all the time about the politics around me and mine.
Yes, however the current Emperor has on occasion touch controversial issues. Like the atrocities committed by Japan during WWII - that was not reported in Japan by the media there - but of course people learned about indirectly.
Another issue was a concern for aftereffects of the tsunami (radioactivity). Milk were among the products served to school children despite an apparent higher level of radioactivity.

We don't know whether emperor Naruhito will change the rules. I.e. being more out and about. Giving interviews where he might hint that the lack of heirs and spares is a concern within the Imperial Family.
The Emperor is not totally gagged and he is not under house arrest. And the issue of succession is very much a family problem! So a couple of discreet: "Hey, we are in serious risk of going extinct!" might not be unthinkable.

If that be the case they could just as well build a robot, who could wave to the public a few times a year and otherwise only be heard and seen on TV. Problem solved.
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  #995  
Old 12-03-2017, 09:12 AM
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I concur. The imperial family have perpetually hinted at the concerns in their interviews during the last years, and I expect them to persevere during Naruhito's reign.

Quote:
But it's a rearguard action, necessity and the change in the public mood will make a change inevitable.
For the conservatives and the majority of the public, there is no necessity because Hisahito seems to be a healthy young boy who, given the expectations, will marry a healthy young woman and conceive male children, by making use of fertility treatments and sex selection processes if they prove to be needed. In case that Hisahito died or was left sterile as an adolescent, time would still be on the monarchy's side as one assumes Naruhito and Fumihito, who are currently in their fifties, will be as long-lived as their parents.
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  #996  
Old 12-03-2017, 10:09 AM
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In case that Hisahito died or was left sterile as an adolescent, time would still be on the monarchy's side as one assumes Naruhito and Fumihito, who are currently in their fifties, will be as long-lived as their parents.
And who do you propose would be the mother of this replacement son?
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  #997  
Old 12-03-2017, 10:26 AM
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My take was that if it becomes clear as day that there is no male-line heir left/to be expected in the next generation (after Hisahito), they will have to come up with a solution: either allow women to ascend the throne or reinstate collateral branches - which could probably be done while Naruhito is still emperor.
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  #998  
Old 12-03-2017, 11:29 AM
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Yes, exactly. When Hisahito attains the age of 25 his father and uncle will be only 65 and 71 years of age. I would not expect amendment of the Imperial House Law (to allow female succession or reinstate collateral branches) to take upwards of four to five years.

Allowing princesses to keep their membership of the imperial family if they marry is a more immediate need.
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  #999  
Old 12-03-2017, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Princess Larisa View Post
With the Emperor and Empress retiring, Mako getting married and Masako not able to travel much internationally, my hope is that in the next 5 years at least a few junior princesses will also marry therefore making the shrinking royal family glaringly obvious even to the deniers. Has anyone heard any rumours about the 4 Mikasa and Takamado princesses marrying?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Countessmeout View Post
The Japanese royals are quite private. I doubt we would know anything about their dating life until one of them is engaged. As of yet, none of them are.
Women's and gossip magazines cover the popular marriage topic although the Japanese media is generally respectful of the Imperial family. The media knew Princess Mako had a serious boyfriend; they were photographed on a train wearing rings in October 2016 but publications blurred his face.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DAhzdCWWAAAsThI.jpg

Once the engagement was leaked and soon confirmed, his face was revealed.
http://jprime.ismcdn.jp/mwimgs/a/4/4...a2cc533039.jpg

This JPrime piece discusses the boyfriend rumors surrounding the unmarried adult princesses. Princess Akiko is rumored to have dated someone who studied Oriental Art in 2007 and then another fellow at Kyoto's research institute in 2009. No news on Princess Yoko although a "source" believes she'll meet a partner via Kendo and her sports hobbies. Supposedly Princess Tsuguko was close to a gentlemen working for a megabank think tank in 2014. Princess Ayako's rumored boyfriend during her Josai International University days had nose and ear piercings; "marriage to such a man is not realistic."

ETA: Not much rumors on Princess Kako. An unlucky male ICU student was the subject of speculation when he happened to sit next to her on a bus.

Over 60% support princesses keeping imperial status after marriage: poll
Quote:
More than 60 percent of people polled by Kyodo News over the weekend support the idea of allowing princesses to retain their place in the imperial family even after marriage as part of measures to address the shrinking Japanese royal family.

In the nationwide telephone survey conducted Saturday and Sunday, 61.3 percent said princesses should be allowed to establish branches of the imperial family after marrying commoners, while 26.0 percent opposed the idea.

[…]

The survey also asked about the emperor's roles after his abdication in 2019.

More than half the respondents, or 54.4 percent, supported the "limited involvement" of the former emperor, or "joko" after he abdicates, in official duties which he conducted as emperor, while 39.8 percent said it is better the former emperor not be involved at all.

[…]

The survey covering 734 randomly selected households with eligible voters as well as 1,141 mobile phone numbers obtained responses from 509 and 511 people, respectively.
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  #1000  
Old 07-03-2018, 12:56 PM
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The usual "shrinking Imperial family" article when a princess gets engaged.

Time to address Imperial family's shrinking ranks | The Japan Times
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