Emperor Akihito & Empress Michiko Current Events Part 3: February 2013 - April 2017

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Jan 29, 2005
Emperor Akihito & Empress Michiko Current Events Part 3: February 2013 - April 2017


Welcome to part 3 of the thread for the Current Events of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko!

You can find the old thread here:

** Emperor Akihito & Empress Michiko Current Events Part 2: September 2006 - January 2013 **

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:flowers: Happy Posting! :flowers:
Lovely photos! It's great to see the emperor and empress relaxing by the sea!
Emperor steadily recuperating year after operation
[...] A checkup in late January showed the Emperor was “largely in good health,” [...] It found only a small amount of fluid in his chest and no major problems with the functioning of his heart.

“The Emperor does not have an erratic pulse now and is expected to stay in good condition for the next 10 years, as he has had no problems in the year after the operation,” Atsushi Amano of Juntendo University Hospital, who led the bypass operation, said during a recent interview. [...]
The Japan Times

Kyrgyzstan's President Almazbek Atambayev and his wife Raisa Atambayeva have been received by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on February 27, 2013.

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Emperor Akihito received Beninese President Boni Yayi at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on March 1, 2013.

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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attended the national memorial service for victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Tokyo today, March 11, 2013. People all over Japan bowed their heads in silence on March 11 as they remembered the almost 19,000 who had died when the tsunami had surged ashore.

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Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa accompanied by his wife Shiranthi met with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo for a luncheon on March 14, 2013. Rajapaksa is on a four-day visit to Tokyo as a government guest.

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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko were pictured arriving at Shimoda Station to visit Suzaki Imperial Villa on March 25, 2013.

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Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and his wife Angelica Rivera were received by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko for a lucheon at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on April 8, 2013.

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Lovely to see!

On April 10 Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited the National Archives of Japan in Tokyo:

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More pictures from the charity ball :flowers:: 1 ** 2 ** 3
What lovely pictures and video, Dman, and ChiaraC. They look to have a great time together, and they dance very well.
Well, they seem to have made special preparations for this moment of dancing together in public for the first time after 20 years ;):
According to the Imperial Household Agency, the couple practiced dancing several times at the Imperial Palace over the last month.
The Asahi Shimbun
How cute do they look together? The dance lessons certainly paid off. :)

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko received Princess Astrid of Belgium at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on April 23, 2013. Princess Astrid visits Japan and Cambodia as Special Representative of the "Roll Back Malaria (RBM)" partnership.

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:previous:I have not seen the couple look so gloomy at an official engagement (unless it was a sad occasion anyway) for a very long time. (For those who may not regularly follow the couple: that´s how they would usually look - here attending a ceremony in Okinawa in November 2012. )

To give you an idea why this is probably so, I would like to quote part of an AP-article:

In nationalist move, Japan marks sovereignty day
Japan for the first time Sunday officially marked the 61st anniversary of the day it regained sovereignty following its World War II defeat, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe steps up his nationalist campaign. […] [Abe] recently has shifted his focus to pursuing his conservative agenda, and the marking of the anniversary is seen as a step to drum up support for revising Japan's U.S.-inspired pacifist constitution. […]

Sunday's proceedings were filled with nationalistic rituals considered symbols of the imperial warship that drove Japan to its 20th century aggression in Asia. The ceremony started with the singing of the controversial national anthem "Kimigayo" ("His Majesty's Reign"), and ended with "Banzai!" cheers for Emperor Akihito. There also was a huge rising sun decoration on the center stage. […] The ceremony was the latest in a series of nationalistic events and remarks that have invited harsh reactions from neighboring countries that suffered from Japan's wartime aggression.

Visits by several government ministers and nearly 170 lawmakers to Tokyo's war shrine this month have enraged China and South Korea. […] Abe also infuriated China and South Korea by saying that there is no clear definition of "aggression" and that Japan will not "succumb to any threat."
As the emperor has, ever since his ascension, done everything in his power to further peaceful relations with Japan´s Asian neighbours, he must have hated it to be obliged to have to be present at such an event. But, as Makoto Watanabe, a former grand steward of the IHA, said there was no provision in the Constitution which could serve as a basis for refusing to attend. "If the emperor said he would not attend, that would end up being a political act by him."

Still, there are a lot of experts who think that, even though the emperor does not have the right the refuse if the governments invites him, they should not bring him into such a difficult situation in the first place.
[...] a former [IHA] agency official said, "Their majesties should not be brought into an event that has led to opposition from Okinawa."

Shock waves reverberated through Okinawa in 1979 following the discovery of a document in the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration which included a message from the current emperor's father asking U.S. occupation forces in 1947 to remain in Okinawa. Eiichi Shindo, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Tsukuba who uncovered that document, said, "There are still many people in Okinawa who feel they were abandoned. In light of this, I don't think the emperor should attend the ceremony." [...]

Takeshi Kobayashi, a visiting professor of constitutional law at Okinawa University, said: "With people in Okinawa referring to the date as a 'day of humiliation,' a sharp division has emerged in public opinion. Because the Constitution defines the emperor as 'the symbol of the unity of the people,' he should not be allowed to participate in an event which has divided public opinion."
The Asahi Shimbun
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A nationalist campaign is somewhat worrying considering that Japan's under threats by North Korea. Ultra-nationalists could use this as an attempt to stir up pre-war politics again, which would not be good for Japan. I wonder whether this ceremony with its cries of "Banzai" brought back uncomfortable memories for the Emperor, even though he was only a child at the time of WWII.:sad:

Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and his wife Pengiran Anak Saleha have been received by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace on May 13, 2013.

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Japanese Emperor Plants Rice Seedlings
Japanese Emperor Akihito planted rice seedlings in a paddy field at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Tuesday keeping up an annual tradition first started by his father Emperor Showa to promote production of rice, Japan's staple food. [...]

The seedlings, which are 15 to 20 centimeter-tall, will be harvested in autumn and used in a festival held at the palace.

Surgeon who operated on Emperor takes recovery process to heart
[...] "In May last year, when he returned to Haneda Airport after having completed a trip to Britain and came down the airplane steps, I thought his operation had been a success," the surgeon, a professor at Juntendo University, said. "Now I think His Majesty's basic physical fitness is about 50 percent better than it was before he underwent the procedure." [...]

Amano said that the state of two bypasses made during the operation were stable, and were likely to be free of problems for 20 years or even longer than that. "Looking at data to date, we've seen that if heart rehabilitation is carried out properly, then the person's basic physical fitness improves," Amano said. "Over the past year, His Majesty has undergone rehabilitation while actively engaging in his public duties, and that stance has boosted his physical strength."
Imperial Couple to hand over some public duties to younger generation
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will hand over public duties of visiting kindergartens and nursing homes to their children after both of them turn 80, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

The couple expressed a wish to pass on the duties, the agency said Monday, quoting them as saying interacting with children and encouraging the elderly would be more suitable for the younger generation — Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako and Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko. [...]

The agency has yet to decide how the younger couples will take over the duties.
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On May 14, Empress Michiko viewed the Japanese traditional puppet theatre 'Sonezaki-Shinju' by Bunraku in Tokyo.

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On May 22, Empress Michiko visited an original drawing exhibition to celebrate the 110th anniversary of Fujinnotomo Publishing in Tokyo.

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And yesterday, May 26, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attended the annual national tree planting festival at Tottori Hanakairo Flower Park in Nanbu, Tottori.

** Pic 1 ** Pic 2 ** mainichi.jp: Emperor, empress attend tree-planting ceremony in Tottori **
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