Senator Taro Yamamoto braved protocols and handed a letter about Fukushima issues to Emperor Akihito, stirring controversy and creating an instant mass debate on the web.
« I wanted to directly tell the emperor of the current situation, » Yamamoto told reporters, referring to the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant north of Tokyo, which has been leaking radioactivity since it was battered by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. – explained Taro Yamamoto.
« I wanted him to know about the children who have been contaminated by radiation. If this goes on, there will be serious health impacts. »
And just like that, Senator Taro Yamamoto personally handed a letter to Emperor Akihito during the party at the Akasaka Palace’s imperial garden on Thursday.
Akihito inclined his head as he took the letter in his hand but then handed it to a nearby chamberlain. Yamamoto said he made no comment.
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Akihito, who turns 80 in December, fills a purely ceremonial role and remains above the political fray.
He has striven to draw the imperial family closer to the people. Conservative Japanese revere him, while many others feel a fond affection towards him. Some Japanese see the family as irrelevant.
Within hours afterwards, thousands of angry people filled in chats in Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo and other social networks, denouncing Taro san breaking « protocols ». Some Internet critics called on Yamamoto to resign from parliament. « This was really low, » one critic wrote in a Web forum. Even the press denounced Taro san; « Yamamoto Taro is an imbecile. Had it been in the past, he would have been executed. » Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga also expressed disapproval, telling a news conference: « There is a line for appropriate behavior at such an occasion ». The parliament is opening a special session on Friday, seeking for punishment for the Senator.
A true Samurai of Modern Times
I have supported the great Taro Yamamoto san for 2 years now. see here and here. Taro san picked up a sword lying on the ground that not many wanted to pick up following the Daiichi accident. He could have continued his promising career as an established actor in Japan and live care free of all this madness. But inside his heart, there was just more than that. Way more! He grabbed that sword and went onto battle authorities, seeking help to protect and remove children from contaminated areas in Fukushima. What he faced soon after starting his crusade were; threats, mocked by thousands, ongoing lawsuits and being exposed to radiation himself. But this did not deter him from pursuing his fight and presented himself to the House of Councillors in its 2013 election, and was elected on July 21st.
Since then, New Senator Yamamoto has been representing mostly those « you DO NOT speak about » ; the children of Fukushima.
Taro san is a hero to many, a Samurai of Modern Times. The LDP will attack him on this event and will try to force him out. They want to shut him up once for all. He is « no good » for the image of the « new Fukushima ». He is definitely no « poster boy » for Abe’s « Cool Japan ».
AS FOR MY OPINION GOES …
Whatever unimportant « protocol » Taro san has broken, he understands fully his actions and the consequences.There is no written or unwritten taboo that bounds Senator Yamamoto from doing what he has done representing Japanese citizens. He merely presented the will of the people, albeit in an arbitrary fashion. He must have been awed by the presence of His Majesty, but he still had the courage to step forward to let the people’s voice heard. I think it was a commendable act and I am grateful for his actions.
The Japanese government has lost its right to condemn people for breaking « rules » the day they increased the legal limit of radiation from 1 mSv to 20 mSv for children in Fukushima. By the way this standard is only « enforced » for Fukushima children. Isn’t that a bit « discriminating » to them?
SHAME ON LDP
Break of protocol ? LDP should be auto critical a little, no?
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