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  #1  
Old 06-14-2020, 11:17 AM
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The Imperial Household

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Originally Posted by tommy100 View Post
Sorry but Queen Victoria should not be a model for now. Again, I don't think any modern constitutional monarchy is now limited as to who it can hire and fire, with all such matters having to go through the Government. Even where such rules may be in place it would be as very much "rubber stamping' whatever the Royal court wants. Clearly the Government are clipping the wings of the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess, likely because it is having to pick up the bill for so many redundancy packages for what could be seen as unfair,unlawful, unjust dismissals of staff.

Imagine the fuss if King Willem Alexander announced his most senior aide was leaving, only for the Dutch government to say "oh no he isn't, we haven't signed that off so he must stay and you must find a role for him"

If nothing else is shows there is poor communication or understanding between the Cour and government.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatiana Maria View Post
Is the Government not responsible for hiring and firing the staff of the Imperial Household Agency in Japan, which is the most modern constitutional monarchy in the world? The Government fired the head of the Agency in 2016 due to his support of the Emperor's wish to abdicate, which was against Government policy.
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Originally Posted by Nice Nofret View Post
Well the Japanese Modell seems to be the other extreme. The Emperor and his family seem to be more slaves to the system than to have any say at all about their lives.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somebody View Post
I agree. Not sure why the Japanese court would be most modern. The imperial family seems to be held hostage by the Imperial Household and I am quite sure the European royal families wouldn't accept such a fate (and rightly so).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatiana Maria View Post
Not the court, but the constitutional monarchy (in response to post #327). The constitution of Japan restricts the powers of the monarch more than any other reigning monarchy in the world.
I see, thanks for the clarification.

However, does the constitution also prescribe that the imperial family is to follow the orders of the Household instead of the other way around? I would hope not but it seems to be what is happening.
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Old 06-14-2020, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Somebody View Post
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I see, thanks for the clarification.

However, does the constitution also prescribe that the imperial family is to follow the orders of the Household instead of the other way around? I would hope not but it seems to be what is happening.
In 1945 it was: be on a strict short leash, limited by all sides, or the monarchy is abolished. Period. Imagine that Adolf Hitler could remain Reichskanzler for 44 more years, after 1945. But Emperor Hirohito could stay for 44 more years after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended World War II.

The extremely strict Household organization was an strict condition by the Allied Powers to let the Emperor and the monarchy survive. In return the Emperor was never subjected to any tribunal of justice.

In hindsight it may be too strict for Akihito and Naruhito, but this was the price the imperial family had to pay for all the atrocities which were inflicted in name of the living deity, which was the Emperor.
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Old 06-17-2020, 04:46 AM
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The Imperial Household Agency announced 3 new advisors and 4 current advisors will retire, effective on June 18.

New advisors:
Noriyuki Kazaoka (73) - former Grand Steward (June 2012 - September 2016) and Vice-Grand Steward of IHA (April 2005 - June 2012), former vice-minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism. Kazaoka played a central role in Emperor Akihito's August 2016 video message about wishing to abdicate. PM Shinzo Abe and government were displeased and Kazaoka's early retirement was seen as punishment. He would have retired ~6 months later anyway.

Itsurō Terada (72) - 18th Chief Justice of Japan, promoted judicial system reforms, and served on the panel to select the new era name "Reiwa"

Makoto Iokibe (76) - President of Hyogo Prefectural University, political scientist, Chairman of Asian Affairs Research Council, President of the National Defense Academy of Japan and adviser on foreign policy to the Government of Japan

Retiring advisors:
Makoto Watanabe (84) - adviser since 2012, former Japanese diplomat, joined Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1959, Ambassador to Jordon (1988-1990)

Takaji Kunimatsu (82) - adviser since 2012, former commissioner of the National Police Agency

Shingo Haketa (78) - former Grand Steward (April 2005 - June 2012) and Vice Grand Steward (2001-2005), career in the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

Hironobu Takesaki (75) - 17th Chief Justice of Japan


6 advisors (former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, economist Shinzo Koizumi, and 4 former Keio University presidents) were appointed to advise Emperor Showa for the first time in 1964. There are no fixed term limits, retirement age, numbers or compensation. The IHA selects the advisors and the Emperor confirms the appointment.

Advisors will meet with the Emperor and Empress regularly although the frequency may vary. In the Heisei era, advisors met the Emperor, Empress, and Grand Steward about once a month to discuss issues on the Imperial family. With the Emperor Akihito's approval, they met Crown Prince Naruhito and Prince Akishino twice a year. Most meetings in the latter years of the Heisei era were about Emperor Akihito's wish to abdicate.

Sources: Sankei, Asahi, Jiji
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  #4  
Old 06-17-2020, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prisma View Post
The Imperial Household Agency announced 3 new advisors and 4 current advisors will retire, effective on June 18.

New advisors:
Noriyuki Kazaoka (73) - former Grand Steward (June 2012 - September 2016) and Vice-Grand Steward of IHA (April 2005 - June 2012), former vice-minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism. Kazaoka played a central role in Emperor Akihito's August 2016 video message about wishing to abdicate. PM Shinzo Abe and government were displeased and Kazaoka's early retirement was seen as punishment. He would have retired ~6 months later anyway.

Itsurō Terada (72) - 18th Chief Justice of Japan, promoted judicial system reforms, and served on the panel to select the new era name "Reiwa"

Makoto Iokibe (76) - President of Hyogo Prefectural University, political scientist, Chairman of Asian Affairs Research Council, President of the National Defense Academy of Japan and adviser on foreign policy to the Government of Japan

Retiring advisors:
Makoto Watanabe (84) - adviser since 2012, former Japanese diplomat, joined Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1959, Ambassador to Jordon (1988-1990)

Takaji Kunimatsu (82) - adviser since 2012, former commissioner of the National Police Agency

Shingo Haketa (78) - former Grand Steward (April 2005 - June 2012) and Vice Grand Steward (2001-2005), career in the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

Hironobu Takesaki (75) - 17th Chief Justice of Japan


6 advisors (former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, economist Shinzo Koizumi, and 4 former Keio University presidents) were appointed to advise Emperor Showa for the first time in 1964. There are no fixed term limits, retirement age, numbers or compensation. The IHA selects the advisors and the Emperor confirms the appointment.

Advisors will meet with the Emperor and Empress regularly although the frequency may vary. In the Heisei era, advisors met the Emperor, Empress, and Grand Steward about once a month to discuss issues on the Imperial family. With the Emperor Akihito's approval, they met Crown Prince Naruhito and Prince Akishino twice a year. Most meetings in the latter years of the Heisei era were about Emperor Akihito's wish to abdicate.

Sources: Sankei, Asahi, Jiji



All pretty old. Could they find none who are a bit older. Why don't the hire younger people for this Jobs.
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  #5  
Old 06-17-2020, 11:23 AM
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I think it is wonderful that the Emperor and the Agency can benefit from the counsel of individuals with decades of service in the highest echelons of government and academia, and that these men are given the opportunity to put their learned experiences to the benefit of their country even after retirement. And I would guess that for example an emeritus Supreme Court Chief Justice is better able to accommodate the political neutrality and the time commitment that the role demands than a serving Supreme Court Chief Justice.

I wish female advisers could be included, but given the low proportion of women in government and management I suppose that is a challenge.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Somebody View Post
However, does the constitution also prescribe that the imperial family is to follow the orders of the Household instead of the other way around? I would hope not but it seems to be what is happening.
The Constitution (in English) does not mention the Imperial Household Agency, but it states that the Emperor is to have no role in government. And inasmuch as the IHA is a government agency under the Prime Minister's Office, in my opinion it would be usurping the authority of the Prime Minister - who, unlike the imperial family, is a democratically elected representative - if the imperial family attempted to control the IHA. But that is my personal view, and I am certainly not a Japanese constitutional expert.
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  #6  
Old 06-17-2020, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatiana Maria View Post
I think it is wonderful that the Emperor and the Agency can benefit from the counsel of individuals with decades of service in the highest echelons of government and academia, and that these men are given the opportunity to put their learned experiences to the benefit of their country even after retirement. And I would guess that for example an emeritus Supreme Court Chief Justice is better able to accommodate the political neutrality and the time commitment that the role demands than a serving Supreme Court Chief Justice.

Thats true but would there not be some people who are a bit younger like in their 60's or.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatiana Maria View Post

The Constitution (in English) does not mention the Imperial Household Agency, but it states that the Emperor is to have no role in government. And inasmuch as the IHA is a government agency under the Prime Minister's Office, in my opinion it would be usurping the authority of the Prime Minister - who, unlike the imperial family, is a democratically elected representative - if the imperial family attempted to control the IHA. But that is my personal view, and I am certainly not a Japanese constitutional expert.
So the Emperor has no role in th eorganization of the Imperiasl Household Agency. A bit strange would be as Queen Elizabeth II., or Queen Margrethe II. have no saying in organizig their respecive Court adminstrations.
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  #7  
Old 08-12-2020, 03:38 AM
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Shinji Yamashita's August 3 article for Yahoo Japan. He's a freelance Imperial journalist, former IHA media liaison (1988-1995), and retired from IHA in 2001 after 20 years.

- early sections recap the successful 1st year of Reiwa and promising 2nd year plans (UK state visit, Olympics, etc.)
- middle sections describe coronavirus cancelling all events and resumption of activities at Imperial Palace by June. Their Majesties are unable to visit Kumamoto Prefecture which suffered heavy rain damage in July. There's a high possibility people will gather to see the Imperial motorcade. No summer holidays at Imperial Villas.
- He speculates the government might schedule Crown Prince Akishino's proclamation around October 22, a year after the enthronement.
- Ponders how the Emperor will be "the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people" amid the pandemic.
- Information dissemination is difficult. Probably less than 1% of people visit the Imperial Household Agency website. Newspapers and television include Imperial coverage in the general society section so people may see it even if they're not particularly interested.
- Although the IHA are providing photos and videos of Their Majesties' briefings, it's a pity there's no audio. The agency should make audio available, allow His Majesty's voice to be heard.
- Before the pandemic, Yamashita thought the use of SNS in the Imperial family/IHA would be about 5-10 years away.
- He thinks SNS (such as Twitter or LINE) should be utilized immediately since direct contact with the people will be unlikely for some time.
- Of course, no one expects the royals to post. The IHA should open SNS accounts and post regularly.
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  #8  
Old 08-13-2020, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prisma View Post
Shinji Yamashita's August 3 article for Yahoo Japan. He's a freelance Imperial journalist, former IHA media liaison (1988-1995), and retired from IHA in 2001 after 20 years.
It's interesting that he shifted from a career in the Imperial Household Agency to a career in journalism, given that the IHA has lambasted the media a number of times.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Prisma View Post
- early sections recap the successful 1st year of Reiwa and promising 2nd year plans (UK state visit, Olympics, etc.)
- middle sections describe coronavirus cancelling all events and resumption of activities at Imperial Palace by June. Their Majesties are unable to visit Kumamoto Prefecture which suffered heavy rain damage in July. There's a high possibility people will gather to see the Imperial motorcade. No summer holidays at Imperial Villas.
- He speculates the government might schedule Crown Prince Akishino's proclamation around October 22, a year after the enthronement.
- Ponders how the Emperor will be "the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people" amid the pandemic.
That puts it in perspective; the imperial family certainly has had a lower profile this year than hoped.

The then-Emperor's address to the public after the 2011 disaster was very welcomed, wasn't it? I suppose the difference between then and now is that this is not a one-time tragic incident, which would be a clear opening for the emperor to deliver an address. Should the Emperor deliver a speech to the people every week there could be concerns about overexposure and diminishing the power of his appearances.

Quote:
- Information dissemination is difficult. Probably less than 1% of people visit the Imperial Household Agency website. Newspapers and television include Imperial coverage in the general society section so people may see it even if they're not particularly interested.
- Although the IHA are providing photos and videos of Their Majesties' briefings, it's a pity there's no audio. The agency should make audio available, allow His Majesty's voice to be heard.
- Before the pandemic, Yamashita thought the use of SNS in the Imperial family/IHA would be about 5-10 years away.
- He thinks SNS (such as Twitter or LINE) should be utilized immediately since direct contact with the people will be unlikely for some time.
- Of course, no one expects the royals to post. The IHA should open SNS accounts and post regularly.
His suggestion seems like a logical expansion of the "general society section" coverage.
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  #9  
Old 08-19-2020, 12:21 AM
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In an era of social distancing, does Japan's emperor need social media? - The Japan Times
Quote:
When Emperor Naruhito attended a nationally televised ceremony this past weekend to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II, it was practically his first major public appearance in six months — and possibly his last this year.

The pandemic has forced the cancellation of ceremonies, parties and international trips that otherwise would have raised the profile of the nation’s emperor, who took the helm of the world’s oldest continuous monarchy last year. Instead, his absence from the public spotlight has created an impression of him fading from view, prompting many to wonder, “Where is the emperor?”

[...]

“It must be very frustrating for him,” said Kenneth Ruoff, a professor of modern Japanese history at Portland State University and author of the book “Japan’s Imperial House in the Postwar Era, 1945-2019.”

“He was planning on continuing the same style of his parents: getting out there and mixing in a very as-equal-as-possible way with his countrymen. And then the pandemic comes along, and they can’t really do that for all sorts of reasons.”

Becoming invisible?
[...] Apparently alarmed by his dwindling presence, the agency has taken the highly rare step of uploading the full text of a short speech made by the emperor in April, when he and Empress Masako were briefed by Shigeru Omi, head of a government panel of experts dealing with the pandemic, on the latest situation regarding the coronavirus.

[...]

Such briefings are typically private in nature and it is “unheard of” for the agency to fully disclose the emperor’s remarks on these occasions, said Shinji Yamashita, a former Imperial Household Agency official turned freelance journalist who extensively covers the imperial family.

Behind this break with tradition was the agency’s desire to quell growing frustration from the public and media over the lack of an address by Emperor Naruhito to his people at a time when Japan is grappling with what some say is a national crisis, Yamashita suggested.

[...]

Oblique communication
[...]

His reticence has contrasted sharply with the great lengths to which kings and queens overseas, especially those in Europe, went in the early days of the pandemic to communicate with the public, issuing an array of video messages seeking to allay their fears.

[...]

The difference in attitudes partly stems from the unique role and authority assigned to emperors, who are stripped of political power under the postwar Constitution as the antithesis of their godlike status during the war, which symbolized Imperial Japan’s militarism. As such, they cannot say anything that is even remotely political in public today, with their words often strictly vetted and scripted in advance.

[...]

Only twice during his 30-year reign did Akihito, for example, broadcast video messages — first in the aftermath of the March 2011 triple disasters that decimated the Tohoku region, and then in August 2016 when he made nuanced explanations about why he wanted to abdicate instead of reigning until death.

Although COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on the lives of many in Japan, the situation here is nowhere near as catastrophic as in some of the world’s biggest virus hot spots, with a death toll totaling a bit over 1,000 as of Tuesday.

“If Japan ever gets as bad as, say, New York, then I think it’s certainly possible that the emperor would make a video speech,” Yamashita said. “But right now, with the nation still persevering and succeeding at containing the crisis under government policies, I would find the release of a video message a little premature,” he added.

That view is echoed by Ruoff, who said the fact that Emperor Naruhito had so far steered clear of making any special announcement doesn’t make him any more aloof than his father.

[...]

“So I think he’s been less active compared to other monarchs, but he hasn’t been less active than you would have expected his father to be in similar circumstances.”

According to Ruoff, the Imperial Household Agency did consider having the emperor make a televised statement in April when it looked like Japan was tipping toward a full-blown crisis, with the number of cases spiking. But momentum for such an arrangement fizzled out after the nation gradually flattened the curve in the weeks that followed, he said.

‘Now or never’
[...]

Naotaka Kimizuka, a professor at Kanto Gakuin University who is well-versed in royal families around the world, has said such an open embrace of internet culture by the monarchy still remains implausible in Japan, describing a cadre of conservative forces in the Imperial Household Agency reluctant to experiment with anything unprecedented.

Kimizuka said royal families overseas have utilized platforms such as Twitter and YouTube to roll out aggressive public-relations campaigns to “make the people understand their kings and queens are working hard” to get their nations through the pandemic.

[...]

While officials around him may balk at the notion of the emperor making forays into social media, there is a good chance that Emperor Naruhito himself is more open-minded.

During his trip to Denmark as prince in 2017, he surprised his entourage by agreeing with a smile to taking a selfie with a local resident who had asked for a photo. That was only a few months after former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak proudly uploaded on Twitter and Facebook a blurry, apparently spur-of-the-moment selfie he took with the emperor during lunch at his official residence.

“Given his personality and ways of thinking, I do believe the emperor himself is of the opinion that social media should be utilized,” Yamashita said.

The journalist said that before the pandemic, he would have thought it would take Japan another five to 10 years before the imperial family started to use social media.

“But with the use of the internet rapidly spreading due to the coronavirus crisis, and the emperor increasingly seen as invisible and disengaged from the public, I think a social media debut is now or never,” he said.

While conceding its positive aspects, Ruoff, meanwhile, cautions that the internet can be a double-edged sword that, if mismanaged, could have dire consequences.

“All sorts of things can happen with social media. … You want the emperor to tweet, and do you want them being retweeted?” he asked.

“You don’t want the throne caught up in social media in a way that harms its dignity.”

[...] Whatever message the monarchy wishes to communicate will in all likelihood be tightly scrutinized, controlled and scripted by the Imperial Household Agency. [...]
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  #10  
Old 09-14-2020, 12:17 AM
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On September 14th, the Imperial Household Agency reported a male administrative employee in his 40s is infected with COVID-19. The assistant chief was in charge of clerical work at the main IHA building at the Imperial Palace so there is no contact with Their Majesties or any Imperial household. Other staff do not have symptoms and there are no close contacts but 6 staff members who worked around the infected employee are quarantining at home as a precaution.

The employee had a fever of over 38 degrees Celsius from September 6 and visited a medical institution on the 7th. A PCR exam was conducted when fever did not go down and the positive COVID-19 result was confirmed on the 12th. He is currently admitted to a hospital in Tokyo with a low fever.

This is the first time an IHA staff member has the new coronavirus. The IHA police/escort department had 2 infected earlier.

Sources: NHK, Jiji
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Old 09-14-2020, 05:21 PM
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I wish him a fast recovery.

The IHA has earned its reputation for being "reluctant to experiment", but in this case I find it hard to blame them. Narratives on social media are hardly a hundred percent admiring, as Princess Mako and Kei Komuro can testify, and as the article points out, the royals have their hands tied in speaking publicly which limits them in responding to criticism or rumors. I can imagine some officials calculating that it is better for the royals to be forgotten than to be overexposed to criticism.

Quote:
Behind this break with tradition was the agency痴 desire to quell growing frustration from the public and media over the lack of an address by Emperor Naruhito to his people at a time when Japan is grappling with what some say is a national crisis, Yamashita suggested.
Are there polls or other evidence to back up Yamashita's sense of "growing frustration from the public"?
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Old 02-19-2021, 01:42 PM
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On February 19th, the Imperial Guard reported the Chief of Kyoto Escort Station (59) has been disciplined for allowing people into Tokyo's Akasaka Estate (where most Imperial families live) without proper procedure when he was Deputy Chief of Akasaka Escort Station in February 2017. The man was dating 2 women, despite being married, admitted to wanting to show off his workplace and invited a girlfriend to visit outside of working hours. He resigned and his salary reduced by 1/10th for 6 months.

Sources: Jiji, Sankei
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Old 02-19-2021, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Prisma View Post
On February 19th, the Imperial Guard reported the Chief of Kyoto Escort Station (59) has been disciplined for allowing people into Tokyo's Akasaka Estate (where most Imperial families live) without proper procedure when he was Deputy Chief of Akasaka Escort Station in February 2017. The man was dating 2 women, despite being married, admitted to wanting to show off his workplace and invited a girlfriend to visit outside of working hours. He resigned and his salary reduced by 1/10th for 6 months.

Sources: Jiji, Sankei
Dating two other women while married, plus inviting unauthorized people onto imperial property while serving as an officer of the imperial guard ... I suppose somebody finds risk-taking to be thrilling.
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Old 03-18-2021, 12:20 AM
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Nobutake Odano (73), Grand Chamberlain to Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, will retire on April 1.

Koro Bessho (68) will succeed as Grand Chamberlain to Their Majesties. Bessho graduated from the University of Tokyo, joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1975, worked at the Japanese Embassy in Washington D.C., served as ambassador to South Korea, and was Japan's representative to the United Nations. He became Deputy Chamberlain of the Board of Chamberlains in January 2020.

Norihiro Sakane (59), a former director of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, who has also served as an aide to Their Majesties, will succeed as Deputy Chamberlain. The appointment will be officially decided in a Cabinet meeting later this month.

Sources: Jiji, NHK

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koro_Bessho

ETA: Top Aide to Japan Emperor, Empress to Retire | Nippon.com (1st photo is Bessho, 2nd photo is Odano)
Quote:
[...]

Odano entered the ministry [of Foreign Affairs] in 1970. He became grand master of the ceremonies at the Imperial Household Agency in September 2012 and then grand master of the Crown Prince's Household in May 2016 to assist Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, who were Crown Prince and Crown Princess at the time.
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Old 03-26-2021, 01:47 AM
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Ex-UN ambassador Koro Bessho named top aide to Japan's Emperor, Empress - The Mainichi
Quote:
Japan's Cabinet on Friday approved the appointment of Koro Bessho, a former ambassador to the United Nations, as the top aide to Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, succeeding Nobutake Odano.

Bessho, 68, will become grand chamberlain to the emperor at the Imperial Household Agency next Thursday after serving as vice grand chamberlain since January 2020.

Bessho, a Hyogo Prefecture native, joined the Foreign Ministry in 1975 and served as deputy minister for foreign affairs and ambassador to South Korea, contributing to the realization of a 2015 Japan-South Korea accord on the issue of "comfort women" who worked in Japan's wartime military brothels.

He is also known for tackling a range of issues including North Korean affairs during his tenure as the country's U.N. ambassador from June 2016 to December 2019.

[...]

Bessho's promotion means the grand chamberlain post will be filled by a former official of the Foreign Ministry for the fifth time in a row.
Bessho Named Top Aide to Japan Emperor, Empress | Nippon.com
Quote:
[...] The government also named Norihiro Sakane, 59, former director-general of the land ministry's National Spatial Planning and Regional Policy Bureau, who served as a close aide to the Emperor when he was Crown Prince, between 2007 and 2010, as deputy grand chamberlain.

[...]
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Old 03-26-2021, 06:41 AM
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Quote:
Bessho, a Hyogo Prefecture native, joined the Foreign Ministry in 1975 and served as deputy minister for foreign affairs and ambassador to South Korea, contributing to the realization of a 2015 Japan-South Korea accord on the issue of "comfort women" who worked in Japan's wartime military brothels.

He is also known for tackling a range of issues including North Korean affairs during his tenure as the country's U.N. ambassador from June 2016 to December 2019.

[...]

Bessho's promotion means the grand chamberlain post will be filled by a former official of the Foreign Ministry for the fifth time in a row.
I suppose that is reasonable. Given the historical legacy of the colonial era and the war, foreign diplomacy is presumably the most sensitive and tricky of the areas in which an emperor requires counsel.

Thank you for the updates!
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