Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko: Current Events Part 1: May 2003 - September 2006

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Japanese mark emperor's birthday
Japanese Ambassador Masashi Namekawa commemorate Japan's national day marking the 72nd birthday of Emperor Akihito on Wednesday night.
Guests included Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, Fiji Chamber of Commerce president Taito Waradi and other prominent people.
"On behalf of the Government and the people of Japan, I am honoured to take this opportunity to welcome your presence here tonight to celebrate the auspicious occasion of Japan's national day and the 72nd birthday of Emperor Akihito of Japan," Mr Namekawa said.
"This occasion gives us an opportunity to further strengthen our cordial relationship with our partner countries, it is not much to say that Japan always considers Fiji as one of its important partners in the international arena," Mr Namekawa said.
"I wish to express my sincere hope for a closer and stronger bond between Fiji and Japan."
The night was opened with a toast to Emperor Akihito with the Japanese anthem playing.
That was followed by a toast to the Republic of Fiji Islands, flowed by drinks and dinner.
From Fuji News Online
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at an event on Dec. 13, 2005.

#1: Mainichi news


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Photos from Kunaicho website of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko carrying out various duties on the following dates:

#1: Dec. 4, 2005.
#2-3: Dec. 9, 2005.


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#1: Emperor Akihito (4th from L) chats with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (3rd from L) at the Imperial Place on Dec. 21. The emperor invited Cabinet ministers and other officials to a luncheon meeting to express his gratitude for their contribution to the nation. (Newscom)


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Yomiuri news
#1: Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum on Nov. 17, 2005.


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Emperor Akihito will celebrate his 72nd birthday on Dec. 23, 2005.

Press Conference on the Occasion of His Majesty's Birthday (2005), and the Activities of the Emperor over the Past Year
His Majesty’s Remarks
I am grieved that major snowstorms have recently hit the areas around Hokuriku region and caused widespread damage and even fatalities. I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. I hope that the weather will soon take a turn for the better so that life can return to normal for the people and that the injured will recover steadily.

Question 1
Over the past year, many events and developments have taken place, both domestically and abroad. Your Majesty, while continuing treatment for illness, has carried out a considerable number of official duties, including the visit to Saipan to mourn and pay tribute to those who died in the War in recognition of the passing of 60 years since the end of the War. Please tell us your feelings about this first time you paid tribute to the war dead abroad, what you felt during your stay in Saipan, as well as your view on how the mourning and paying tribute to the war dead should be in the years to come, and on passing down this practice to the next generation.
Answer 1
During the War a tremendous number of Japanese people lost their lives. Out of the 3.1 million war dead, a total of 2.4 million people died on foreign land. In recognizing the passage of 60 years since the end of the War, the Empress and I wished to pay tribute to the war dead on foreign land where so many people lost their lives, and with the cooperation of numerous people, we visited Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a self-governing United States territory. On the island is the Monument of the War Dead in the Mid-Pacific erected by the Government of Japan for those who lost their lives in the War in this region.
Saipan, a formerly German territory, was made a trust territory of Japan by the League of Nations after the First World War. In effect, many Japanese immigrated to this island and engaged in the sugar industry, agriculture and fisheries. When the US military landed in Saipan on 15 June 1944, the Japanese forces had already lost naval and air supremacies and the many Japanese nationals on the island were unable to evacuate the area. Due to combat being conducted under such circumstances, approximately 43,000 personnel from the army and the navy and 12,000 Japanese residents who remained in the area lost their lives by 7 July, the day the Japanese forces were defeated and died with honour. It is impossible to imagine the level of agony felt by the military personnel and those others residing on the island as well as the sorrow of the people who lost their family members there. Close to 3,500 US military personnel lost their lives in this combat, in addition to the more than 900 Saipanese who fell victim as well. There were also those originally from the Korean Peninsula who lost their lives in this combat. On the occasion of our visit this time, the Empress and I visited the respective monuments for those war dead, visited both the Suicide and Banzai Cliffs where many people leapt to their deaths, and mourned and paid tribute to the people who lost their lives in the War and reflected on the sorrow felt by the bereaved family members...........

Birthday Photos
#1-2: Official birthday photo from Kunaicho website
#3: Press conference held on Dec. 19, 2005.
#4: In this photo released by the Imperial Household Agency, Japan's Emperor Akihito poses with Empress Michiko while strolling in the Fukiage garden at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Dec. 2, 2005. Akihito celebrates his 72nd birthday on Saturday, Dec. 23, 2005.
#5: Large photo from ANP
Below photo from Kunaicho



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Emperor, turning 72, shows favorable view of female roles

(Kyodo) _ Emperor Akihito, on the occasion of his 72nd birthday Friday, showed a favorable view of the roles of the female members of the imperial family, though declining to comment in relation to a government panel report on imperial succession which proposed allowing females to ascend the Japanese throne.

The emperor said female members "must have played major roles" in the royal family up to now, adding he feels their presence brings "some very good elements" such as warmth and encouragement to the people on both public and private occasions, in comments released by the Imperial Household Agency.
The imperial family is expected to face drastic changes if the current Imperial House Law is revised in line with the panel report, which was submitted to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Nov. 24 as a way to ensure stable succession, given that no male heir has been born to the royal family in the last 40 years.
The panel's decision is a step toward Japan having Princess Aiko, 4, the only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, as the first female monarch since the 18th century.............

Emperor calls for historical accuracy

JAPANESE Emperor Akihito has called on Japan to "accurately understand" its history at the end of a year marked by criticism abroad that the country fails to atone for its militarist past.

In an interview marking his 72nd birthday today, the Emperor said "there were rarely peaceful times" in the 20 years to 1945 when Japan surrendered to the Allies to end World War II.
"I believe it is extremely important for the Japanese people to strive to accurately understand this past history along with the ensuing era," Akihito said. "This is also important when the Japanese people interact with other peoples of the world," he added in the interview held recently with the Imperial Palace press corps for publication today.........

Emperor lauds role of women in royal family
Emperor Akihito, speaking before his 72nd birthday Friday, spoke favorably about the role of the female members of the Imperial family, though he declined comment on a report by a government panel on the Imperial succession that proposes allowing females to ascend the throne.
The Emperor, in comments released by the Imperial Household Agency, said women have "played major roles" in the royal family up to now, adding he feels their presence brings "some very good elements," such as warmth and encouragement, to the people on both public and private occasions..........

Emperor urges 'accurate' understanding of history

Emperor Akihito says his trip to Saipan in June to pray for the repose of the war dead left him "heavy-hearted" thinking about the severe combat that took place there 61 years ago.
The emperor was speaking at a news conference at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo ahead of his 72nd birthday today. "It is impossible to imagine the level of agony felt by the military personnel and those others residing on the island as well as the sorrow of the people who lost their family members there," he said, responding to questions about the trip............

◆Emperor, turning 72, shows favorable view of female roles
Emperor Akihito, on the occasion of his 72nd birthday Friday, showed a favorable view of the roles of the female members of the imperial family, though declining to comment in relation to a government panel report on imperial succession which proposed allowing females to ascend the Japanese throne.........

Japanese should understand 20th century: emperor
Japanese people must strive to properly understand their country's history when they deal with the rest of the world, Emperor Akihito said on his 72nd birthday on Friday.................

Japan's emperor urges understanding of history
Japan's Emperor Akihito has urged the Japanese to understand their country's history accurately, in an apparent reference to simmering disputes with China and South Korea over Japan's past militarism.
Akihito made the remarks in a recent news conference, a translation of which was released to mark his birthday on Friday.
"I believe it is very important for the people of Japan to strive to accurately understand this past history as well as the times that followed and this is also important when the Japanese people interact with the people of the world," he said..........

#1: JIJI Press-Dec 19th press conference


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Video distributed by Imperial Household Agency

Congradulations from Foreign Countries



His Majesty Sends Congratulatory Message To Emperor Of Japan
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang DiPertuan of Brunei Darussalam has consented to send congratulatory messages to His Imperial Majesty Akihito, the Emperor of Japan and Junichiro Koizumi, the Prime Minister of Japan on the occasion of the Emperor's birthday.............
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Japan's Emperor: Man and Institution
With a long and turbulent history, only since 1948 has the Emperor made public appearances
Japanese Emperor Akihito celebrated his 72nd birthday Dec. 23. The emperor's birthday is a national holiday in Japan. On this day, the emperor greets assembled visitors in an area of the Hirohito (posthumously named Showa) on his birthday. In 1950, Emperor Hirohito began making public appearances every birthday.

Emperor Akihito, son of the controversial Hirohito, has "ruled" since 1989. Unlike previous emperors, he was sent to school with commoners. He shocked Japan and his mother by marrying a woman who was not an aristocrat, and later in defiance of tradition, chose to raise his children at home rather than send them to be cared for by others.

"Japanese people must strive to properly understand their country's history when they deal with the rest of the world," Akihito said in his public address to the gathered assembly. With relationships between Korea and China deteriorating, these words touch on a sore spot of controversy, a controversy in which the institution of "Emperor" was used to spearhead military conquest in the early 20th century.

History, or rather the presentation of history, is a key issue in the relationship between Japan and the rest of Asia. Many feel that Japan has not seriously owned up to its past misdeeds while at the same time adding salt to the wound by putting forth history textbooks that gloss over some of these past horrendous actions. It doesn't help matters either with politicians such as Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi making official visits to Yasakuni Shrine, the Shinto shrine which contains the spirits of Japanese war dead including noted war criminals.............

Photos from Ohmynews International


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Putin addresses New Year greetings to foreign leaders
.............The head of the Russian state has addressed the warmest New Year greetings to Emperor Akihito of Japan. Congratulating Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on the New Year, Putin highly assesses the level of trust and mutual understanding between the two countries and hopes for further joint efforts for the sake of developing creative partnership...............
Japan's imperial couple makes history

Year-end Presentation of five Waka Poems by His Majesty the Emperor 2005, Seventeenth year of Heisei
Year-end Presentation of Three Waka Poems by Her Majesty the Empress 2005,Seventeenth Year of Heisei

The Imperial Household Agency on Sunday released eight poems written in the "waka" genre by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko in 2005.
Five were written by the emperor and three by his wife on such occasions as the couple's visit to Saipan in June last year which was their first overseas trip for the sole purpose of paying respects to the war dead.
They also wrote about their only daughter Sayako, popularly known as Princess Nori before she got married to a Tokyo metropolitan government employee in November and left the imperial household. The agency traditionally releases poetry by the imperial couple on New Year's Day. Waka was developed by Japanese court aristocrats in the sixth century and they typically consist of 31 syllables in a five-line pattern of 5-7-5-7-7............

His Majesty the Emperor’s New Year Thoughts, 2006

Emperor stresses sacrifices of war dead on New Year's Day
Emperor Akihito reflected on the people who died in World War II and stressed the importance of their sacrifice in his New Year's message released Sunday by the Imperial Household Agency..........
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Liberal emperor?: Akihito continues his quest to overcome the legacies of his father.

This is the third part of a series on issues and topics facing the imperial family.
Seiichi Oike stood on a beach in front of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, got down on his knees, and then sprawled out on the sand face down.
Oike, 87, one of the few survivors of the Saipan battles during World War II, was "acting out" the ferocious battles he experienced on the island, where many poorly armed Japanese soldiers were totally overpowered by U.S. troops.
The emperor stared in awe. The empress leaned over for a closer look. It was the first time they had publicly seen such a demonstration overseas.
"The emperor's face became very tense when I showed how we tried to cope with the barrage of bullets by lying face down," said Oike, who accompanied the imperial couple.
The trip to Saipan in June, said to have been materialized on the emperor's initiative, paid tribute to the tens of thousands who died on the Pacific island during World War II.
It followed Akihito's years of gestures to heal the victims of World War II and to seek peace around the world. But some of his actions and words have been surprising--and have come under criticism from right-wingers and traditionalists.
For example, on Saipan, the emperor and empress made a detour that was not on the itinerary released to the press.
The imperial couple bowed deeply at a memorial to Koreans who died in the Pacific theater.
The Japanese government had not referred to this surprise stopover in its prior press briefing because it did not want to draw the wrath of those opposed to any apologetic gesture made by the emperor, sources said. But it seems that any potential backlash would not have changed the emperor's desire to pray for the repose of all victims of the war....................
There is going to be a book released by the end of January featuring Empress Michiko's Waka poems.

#1: From Baito Publishing Co., Inc. website

Empress Michiko's poems to be published in French: report
A collection of 53 poems written by Empress Michiko will be published in French along with the original Japanese works possibly in late January, the Sankei Shimbun newspaper reported Wednesday.............


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Photos from Kunaicho website of the Emperor and Empress performing specific duties and receiving guests.

#1: Dec. 7, 2005
#2-3: Dec 12, 2005.
#2: Hosting Princess Désirée of Sweden and her husband for dinner.


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Emperor Akihito reads his message in the House of Councillors as Japan's parliament convened on Jan. 20 for a 150-day regular session.
Japan's Emperor Akihito declares the opening of a new ordinary session of Japan's parliament in Tokyo January 20, 2006.


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#1: Newscom: Emperor Akihito (C, front) and Empress Michiko (L, front) are welcomed by top sumo wrestlers Jan. 20 on arriving at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan to watch bouts in the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.
#2:JIJI Press: Emperor Akihito (L, front) and Empress Michiko (R) greet spectators as they visit Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan Jan. 20 to watch bouts in the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

Sumo: Tochiazuma grabs lead, Asa falls again at New Year sumohttp://asia.news.yahoo.com/060120/kyodo/d8f8aoh80.html


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Official Visit to Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand: June 8, 2006 -June 14, 2006

Yomiuri news reports that Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will be making a visit to Singapore and Thailand in June. Both of them have been invited to attend the 60th anniversary celebrations of King Bhumibol Adulyadej's accession to the throne in Thailand during June this year. This will be their 2nd visit to Thailand since 1991 and their first to Singapore since their enthronement as Emperor and Empress. Their visit to these 2 countries will begin on June 8th and will last about a week.

Emperor and empress may visit Thailand, Singapore in June
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko may visit Thailand and Singapore in June, government sources said Saturday.
Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej has invited the couple to attend events marking the 60th anniversary of his coronation, they said.
The Cabinet is expected to give the go-ahead for the visit, which spans about one week in early June. It would be their first visit to Singapore, which was occupied by Japan during World War II, and the second to Thailand since the emperor ascended to the throne in 1989...........

Akihito to make first ever visit to Singapore

TOKYO: Japan's emperor and empress may make their first ever visit to Singapore and travel to Thailand in June, a news report said yesterday.
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have been invited by Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej to attend celebrations for the 60th anniversary of his coronation, Kyodo News agency reported, citing unnamed government sources.
The couple will also stop in Singapore – their first visit to the island republic – the report said.
The Cabinet is expected to approve the trip, which will take place for about a week in early June. An official at the Imperial Household Agency said he could not confirm the report..........................

Emperor, empress to visit Southeast Asia

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will make official visits to Singapore and Thailand in June and also spend a day in Malaysia, government officials said Friday.
In Singapore, the couple will take part in a ceremony to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the island state and Japan.
In Bangkok, they will attend celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of King Bhumibol's accession to the throne. The weeklong trip was officially decided at a Cabinet meeting Friday.................
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Imperial couple visit daughter Sayako, her husband at Tokyo condo
(Kyodo) _ Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited their daughter Sayako and her husband Yoshiki Kuroda at their downtown Tokyo condominium Saturday evening.

It was the royal couple's first visit to their daughter's home since Sayako, formerly a princess, became a commoner through her marriage to Kuroda in November and moved with him into the condo they rent. The two couples had a relaxed time over dinner in the condo, Imperial Household Agency sources said......................

Royal couple makes first visit to daughter's home
The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Emperor and Empress on Saturday visited the Tokyo residence of their recently married daughter and her husband for the first time.
Princess Nori, the royal couple's only daughter, took the name Sayako Kuroda when she married Yoshiki Kuroda in November. The newlyweds live in a one-bedroom rental apartment two kilometers from the Imperial Palace. They will move to a new apartment in Tokyo in spring.
The Emperor and Empress arrived at the couple's residence at about 6:30 p.m. and ate dinner.
(Jan. 22, 2006)
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Emperor, empress to visit Miyake Island in March
(Kyodo) _ Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will visit Miyake Island, off Tokyo, in early March to encourage islanders in efforts to rebuild their communities, which have been affected by a series of major volcanic eruptions since 2000...........
They are expected to make a one-day trip to the Pacific island, about 200 kilometers south of Tokyo, by air and see the post-disaster lives of around 2,900 islanders, the sources said............

Imperial Couple to visit Miyake in March
.........The couple will carry gas masks and will meet with residents indoors as the volcano continues to emit gas.
It will be the first time the couple will have set foot on the island since the volcano erupted. They flew over the island in a helicopter in July 2001 to view the damage............
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Timetable of the Emperor and Empress' week long visit

June 8: Leave Tokyo's Haneda Airport for Singapore

June 9: Attend a banquet to be hosted by Singaporean President S.R. Nathan

June 10: Move on with their visit to Malaysia
They will visit the northern Malaysia state of Perak

June 11: Fly to Bangkok via Kuala Lumpur

June 12-13:
They will participate in events marking the 60th anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej's reign

June 14: Return to Japan

Emperor, empress to visit Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand in June
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Japan emperor 'must visit shrine'
Japanese foreign minister Taro Aso has called for Emperor Akihito to visit a controversial war shrine - a move that could enrage China and South Korea............He believes Emperor Akihito should visit the Tokyo shrine because those who died in wars did so in honour of their emperor.............

Japan's Aso says emperor should visit Yasukuni
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso said on Saturday it would be appropriate for the emperor to visit the Yasukuni shrine, which is seen by critics as a symbol of past Japanese militarism, Kyodo news agency reported............

Japan's Aso says emperor should visit Yasukuni

Emperor Akihito Is Unlikely to Visit Yasukuni Shrine
Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Emperor Akihito is unlikely to visit a shrine in Tokyo that includes war criminals among the dead that it commemorates, top government spokesman Shinzo Abe said, after Foreign Minister Taro Aso recommended that the emperor do so.
``Any imperial visit would take into account his position as a private individual as well as the societal situation and other considerations,'' Abe said at a regular press conference in Tokyo. ``The Imperial Household Agency has dealt with this carefully and will continue to do so.''..............

Japan plays down FM's call for emperor to visit war shrine
The Japanese government signalled that Emperor Akihito was unlikely to visit a war shrine, playing down a call by the foreign minister that risks inflaming tensions with other Asian countries.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said the Imperial Household Agency continued to "carefully" consider whether the emperor should visit the Yasukuni shrine, which honors Japanese war dead including top war criminals.................

Japan's opposition leader raps FM for shrine visit suggestion
Japan's Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader criticized Foreign Minister Taro Aso on Sunday for his suggestion that the country's emperor should visit the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine, the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper reported Monday..............
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Empress Michiko watched the Opera of "W.A.Mozart : Die Zauberflöte" at the New National Theatre in Tokyo on Jan. 24, 2006.

#1: from New National Theatre, Tokyo homepage


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Emperor visit to Yasukuni Shrine 'unacceptable': S. Korea
(Kyodo) _ A South Korean government official expressed dismay Monday at Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso's call for Emperor Akihito to visit the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Yonhap News Agency reported.
"It would be unacceptable for the head and the symbol of Japan to make visits to the Yasukuni Shrine which honors A-class war criminals," the official was quoted as saying on condition of anonymity..................

2nd LD: S. Korea voices 'deep regret' over Aso's Yasukuni remarks

South Korea's foreign ministry on Monday expressed "deep regret" over Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso's call for Japanese Emperor Akihito to visit the controversial Yasukuni Shrine and urged him to "immediately withdraw" that remark. "We urge the Japanese foreign minister to immediately withdraw the remark that shuns neighboring nations," the ministry said in a statement reported by Yonhap News Agency...............

Seoul raps Japan foreign minister on shrine remark
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea criticised Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso on Monday for suggesting that Emperor Akihito should visit Tokyo's Yasukuni war shrine, which critics see as a symbol of Japan's past militarism.

"(Aso's comments) are an attempt to justify and embellish Japan's history of war of aggression and is very regrettable," the South Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "This government urges the person in charge of Japan's diplomacy to immediately withdraw comments that disregards relationships with neighbouring countries," it said.......................

Yasukuni comment was Aso's private view: Abe
Foreign Minister Taro Aso was expressing his personal opinion when he said Emperor Akihito should visit Yasukuni Shrine, Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said Monday in a bid to ease the diplomatic fallout.

The Imperial Household Agency has said the late Emperor Hirohito and Emperor Akihito have not visited Yasukuni Shrine since 1975, "considering various social situations" and other factors of the times, Abe said. Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Showa, visited Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 2.47 million war dead, eight times after World War II, making the last trip in fall 1975..................
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Japan's Aso backs off call for emperor shrine visit
TOKYO: Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso backed away today from a remark that it would be appropriate for the emperor to visit a Tokyo war shrine, saying he was not calling for a visit at this time, Kyodo news agency reported.
Aso's comment at the weekend that Emperor Akihito, son of wartime emperor Hirohito, should visit Yasukuni Shrine sparked criticism from South Korea, which along with China considers the shrine to be a symbol of Japan's militaristic past......................''I have not called for the emperor to pay his respects at Yasukuni Shrine under current circumstances,'' Aso was quoted by Kyodo as telling reporters..................


Japan FM backs down over shrine
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso has backtracked on his controversial call for the emperor to visit a war shrine despised by China and South Korea. Mr Aso said the visit was impossible "under the current situation", but he hoped it would happen in the future..................
Emperor Akihito (L) and Empress Michiko (2nd L) observe Chinese and Japanese historical calligraphy pieces, as they are accompanied by Chinese ambassador to Japan Wang Yi (R) during their visit an exhibition named "The Finest of Chinese and Japanese Calligraphy" at the Tokyo National Museum in Tokyo, 01 February 2006. rime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has promised to submit a bill before parliament by June that would put four-year-old Princess Aiko in line to ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne and then allow her first child to succeed her.
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Photos with no watermarks
Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko look at exhibits at an exhibition 'Twin Peaks: The Finest of Chinese and Japanese Calligraphy' at the National Museum in Tokyo Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2006.
#1: AP
#2: Reuters

Related Article
Japan's emperor visits Japan-China calligraphy exhibition
TOKYO, Feb. 1 (Xinhuanet) -- Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited an exhibition of Chinese and Japanese masterpieces of calligraphy Wednesday afternoon in Tokyo.
The exhibition "Twin peaks: the finest of Chinese and Japanese calligraphy" shows the history of Chinese calligraphy.....................


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Empress Michiko attended a concert hosted by the Association of Japanese Symphony Orchestra at the Kioi Hall in Tokyo on Feb 4, 2006.
#1: TBS news
#2: ANN news
#3: FNN news
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Japan empress has dizzy spells, cancels events

71-year-old has been suffering dizzy spells since October

TOKYO - Japan’s Empress Michiko, suffering from dizzy spells, has cancelled her official duties for a week, a palace spokeswoman said on Sunday.
Michiko, 71, has had dizzy spells for unknown reasons since October, the spokeswoman for the Imperial Household Agency said.
“The Majesty the Empress plans to return to official duties after taking a sufficient rest for a week,” she said.

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Empress Michiko cancels out-of-town trip after feeling dizzy
Empress Michiko will cancel an out-of-town trip next week because of occasional dizziness, the Imperial Household Agency said Sunday.
The Empress, 71, has been experiencing dizziness at times since late October..............

Empress Michiko cancels visit to Hayama due to feeling faint
The Imperial Household Agency said Sunday that Empress Michiko has canceled a visit to an imperial villa in Hayama, Kanagawa Prefecture, after feeling faint....................

Video links about this report in Japanese (Expires soon)
TBS news: http://meta.cdn.yahoo-streaming.jp/cgi-bin/yahoo/news.asx?cid=20060205-00000029-jnn-soci-movie-001&media=wm300khttp://meta.cdn.yahoo-streaming.jp/...0205-00000029-jnn-soci-movie-001&media=wm300k
ANN news: http://meta.cdn.yahoo-streaming.jp/cgi-bin/yahoo/news.asx?cid=20060205-00000018-ann-soci-movie-001&media=wm300k
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