Princes' views should be respected for imperial future: emperor
Thursday 12th November, 07:30 AM JST
It is necessary to take note of the views of Crown Prince Naruhito and Prince Akishino in deciding on the future of the imperial family, Emperor Akihito said prior to a government-sponsored ceremony Thursday commemorating the 20th anniversary of his accession.
‘‘I think it is important that the views of the crown prince and Prince Akishino, who supports him, are respected’’ concerning the ideal role of the imperial family in the future, Emperor Akihito, 75, told a press conference, adding that the issue of the system of imperial succession should be left to deliberations in the Diet.
‘‘They have both spent a great deal of time with me and supported me throughout these years, and I am sure they have been developing well-considered views on the ideal role of the emperor,’’ he said.
Sharing that view, Empress Michiko, 75, told the press conference, ‘‘Believing that they will continue to respect and complement one another and that their respective families too will certainly support them with all their heart, I entrust the future of the imperial family to the generations ahead.’‘
The two princes have been able to ‘‘deepen their awareness of their respective responsibilities’’ by spending time with their grandfather Emperor Hirohito and by closely observing their father Emperor Akihito as they grew up, the empress said.
Emperor Akihito was enthroned Jan 7, 1989, following the death of Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa, and his accession ceremony took place Nov 12, 1990, after a period of mourning for Emperor Hirohito, at the Imperial Palace, in front of dignitaries from both Japan and overseas.
The governmental ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of the accession is scheduled to be held at the National Theatre of Japan in Tokyo on Thursday afternoon with the participation of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and other dignitaries from various fields.
The emperor also said, ‘‘What I am rather more concerned about is that history might gradually be forgotten,’’ showing his concern at public ignorance about World War II. ‘‘I believe it is essential for us to learn from the historical facts and prepare ourselves for the future.’‘
The emperor also touched on some difficulties people in Japan are facing today, telling reporters, ‘‘I am deeply concerned about people’s welfare as Japan today is becoming a rapidly aging society at a time of severe economic conditions.’‘
‘‘I would like to see a society where everyone supports one another,’’ said the emperor, adding it is encouraging to see an increasing number of people caring about the elderly and those in need of nursing and who are making efforts to support them.
‘‘I am delighted to see so many people celebrating this 20th year of the Heisei Era. I am grateful to them and take this opportunity to express my wishes for the peace and security of Japan and the health and happiness of the Japanese people,’’ the emperor said.
On his health and duties, the emperor said, ‘‘There has been a reduction in official duties over the past year and I think that this did indeed have the effect of lessening my burden. However, if my health continues as it is, I should like to continue with the current level of official commitments.’‘
‘‘As for the empress,’’ the emperor said, ‘‘I am very happy to know that her knee is recovering,’’ referring to a ligament injury in her left knee she sustained while playing tennis in February.
The empress said, ‘‘Although I occasionally wish it to heal much faster, I think I must learn from the baseball player Hideki Matsui and wait patiently for it to improve,’’ referring to the New York Yankees hitter, who overcame two knee operations on his way to becoming the latest World Series MVP.