The Controversy of the Letter to the Emperor

Last Thursday, Taro Yamamoto, a member of the House of Councillors of the Japanese government, handed a handwritten letter directly to the Emperor. In the letter he expressed his concerns about what is currently happening in Fukushima and the complications that are arising while dismantling the reactors.

A great debate has raged on TV programs and Internet forums. Some have asked for Taro Yamamoto to apologize while others have asked him to resign for giving the letter to the Emperor. This doesn’t mean that they are not worried about the situation in Fukushima, however it turns out that the Japanese constitution says that the Emperor can’t meddle in political issues.

Emperor of Japan
The moment when Yamamoto handed the letter to the Emperor.

It happened during a party organized by the Imperial Household Agency in the Akasaka Imperial Gardens. When the guests arrived to the party they received a map of the gardens and a number of rules to follow like for example “Do not take photos of the Imperial family”. An official of the Imperial Household Agency declared afterwards that they didn’t bother to mention that it’s not allowed to hand objects to the members of the Imperial family in the instructions for the party because it’s common sense. (Source: Asahi Shinbun).

It seems that Yamamoto didn’t know the protocol and he was not fully aware that when handing the letter to the Emperor he was trying to use him for political purposes. He has apologized but he says that he is not going to step down unless somebody else forces him to do so.