Lawmaker breaks taboo by handing letter about nuclear fears to emperor


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Good on him!

33 ( +45 / -12 )

Great idea!! Bypass the #@* holes. They've run amok long enough.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhide Suga also expressed disapproval, telling a news conference: “There is a line for appropriate behavior at such an occasion”.


19 ( +29 / -10 )

Excellent move.

14 ( +24 / -10 )

It becomes impossible for imperial household to have made remarks concerning Fukushima. It is not likely to be able to console it for a while.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Great idea!! Bypass the #@* holes. They've run amok long enough.

And just what do you think the Emperor can do?

While I admire Yamamoto's chutzpah, what he did could possibly cause more harm than good by turning the discussion away from the problems on to him (as it has already from the looks of it on this AM's talk-shows) and his breach of etiquette and protocol.

There is a time and place for what he did, and a public reception is not the right one to do what he did.

-6 ( +14 / -20 )

Feckless leaders from the top down. Japan is spiraling downwards faster and faster and all they care about is some foolish protocol. The radiation is killing people every minute of everyday and it's being brushed away as "under control". Tell the children with cancer about protocol.

4 ( +16 / -12 )


It's not about what theEmperor can or can't do, it's about the act itself, and creating awareness while the Japanese government keeps the reins on the public discussion. IMO

25 ( +30 / -5 )

A hero! Japan needs more people like this man. I hope the emperor sits down and reads the letter and comments on it. I have no love for the royal family but it is about time they got involved in this. Enough is enough and clearly the government is too busy caring about lining their pockets than the public. I hope the emperor feels some sort of obligation to his people to finally speak out.

19 ( +25 / -6 )

Doing the right thing the wrong way.

8 ( +15 / -7 )

It's not about what theEmperor can or can't do, it's about the act itself, and creating awareness while the Japanese government keeps the reins on the public discussion. IMO

Nice try, but your post implied that by bypassing the government and going to the Emperor directly would or could be a catalyst for change...this is what YOU wrote.

Great idea!! Bypass the #@* holes. They've run amok long enough.

Also there is no "creating awareness" about the Japanese government and what it's doing. The entire focus of the discussion is not about the content (whatever it actually might be) of the letter but the inappropriate breach of protocol that Yamamoto made in actually giving it to the Emperor in that setting and situation.

No one is going to give a hoot about what his intentions were.

-16 ( +7 / -23 )

Good. That's all.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

There is no law that people should not give letters to Emperor directly there. No problem at all. It seems that no one had done such a thing for hundreds of years in the past because he used to be treated as some kind of God.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

There is a notoriety that surpasses the value of the letter and the words within it. It's too easy to forget about the people who are still victimized by the tragedy in Fukushima and it's too easy to pretend that another natural disaster wont wake up the dragon for good this time. Well played. Japan needs les bureaucracy right now and more action when it comes to Fukushima

11 ( +13 / -2 )

I had some respect for this guy. Until now. The post war constitution made the Emperor a symbol of the state instead of a personification of the state itself and completely removed his role in the politics of the country. What exactly has he accomplished besides stressing out an old man?

-33 ( +10 / -41 )

Why lose respect for him? By handing this letter to the Emperor he expands the scope of the discussion and furthers discussion. If only for having people oppose it, he has put the dangers of nuclear power at the top of the news cycle. For that, if nothing else, it is a good thing.

The Emperor is still merely a symbol; handing him a letter a symbol, too.

18 ( +24 / -6 )

The Emperor took to the airwaves if YOU remember to talk about the terrible time Japan was facing, the lawmaker did the RIGHT thing to bring it back into a spotlight that is controlled by others not the government. The media here is a mealy mouthpiece and has no spheres. Well done that lawmaker.

21 ( +26 / -5 )

I doubt that the emperor will even get to read the letter. The chamberlain grabbed it off him and put it in his jacket pocket, probably never to be seen again.

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

Mr Yamamoto did the right thing, handing the letter to the Emperor, who also is a peace-loving man.

Good for him!

18 ( +21 / -3 )

Good on him for trying. Hopefully the Emperor will take it and read it at a later date, and can shore up some funding, at least, for relief efforts. Better still would be if this man's actions force the government to do something other than try to make laws that would not allow it.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

A brave action by someone with principles. Such people tend to pay a steep price in Japan, sadly. He can expect round-the-clock harassment by the nationalist nutters now.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Protocol is very important...right up until it becomes a barrier to solving problems. At that point you break it.

Its like keeping your promises. Its important to keep them, but you don't keep promises that help Satan. Its like lying. Basically its bad, but lying to a liar is a good thing.

1 ( +7 / -6 )


catalyst for change

I never said or meant that.

As far as the government keeping reins on the discussion, seems like they are already in damage control by your comment

(as it has already from the looks of it on this AM's talk-shows

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The chamberlain took the letter at that time but Emperor is not that too old to forget it. He still remembers it. If Emperor asked him, then he could read it later as the lawmaker explained it very briefly there.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Nicely done, I don't see any politics here, the more pressure exerted to do right in Fukushima & Tohoku is good!!

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Looking at reactions of the Emperor and people around him, i think nothing will happen. They will all ignore the incidence.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Lawmakers are elected to serve the people, Taro Yamamoto seems to be one of the few to remember that.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

Protocol will be the death of Japan, it will ultimately drown in a sea of the stuff. Let's all commend a man of principles who must surely have known the shit storm this would bring down upon his head but chose to do it anyway!

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Okay so Yamamoto handed the emperor a letter stressing his concerns of Fukushima. In reality, nothing is going to happen because the emperor has no power and no say in any of these matters. He may voice his opinion, but it won't be an order of law.

Also this shows that Yamamoto is trying to get the emperor involved because he believes his own government is incapable of dealing with the situation since they tend to put a band aid over the problem. This can show all of Japan that a lawmaker himself knows that his own government is incapable of dealing with the problem at hand. So I can see how this could cause an uproar.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Agree with the sentiments above. It's good to see someone actually do something, even if it's something as small as handing a letter to someone. My fear is that, as well as Yamamoto coming under fire now, the media will take the focus off of the letter's content, and put an emphasis on the 'taboo' that has supposedly been broken (if such a taboo ever existed). Would be interesting to hear the reasons for the taboo. I imagine if you asked someone why you couldn't hand a letter to the emperor like that, their response would be something like 'You just... can't. It's wrong...'

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I don't think radiation is discrimitive and how is handing a letter to the Emperor suddenly involving him in politics? Good on him!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

As a geezer who has lived in Japan a long time, I can't help it - I kind of cringed watching that. I've become very Japanese.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I can understand his act, but I don't think he did right. Emperor has no right to control political. Taro Yamamoto just wanted the emperor to speak out something sympathy more in the emperor speech or visit Fukushima a lot?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

if ever there were a time for the emperor to speak out, that time is now. the situation in fukushima is despicable and shameful for such an economic and technological powerhouse like japan.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

If the emperor is serious about getting closer to the people he should make the contents of this letter public. The cover ups, scandals and mishaps in this disaster are the real catastrophe.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I hope it was a mass invitation to see "Pandora's Promise". The off-the-wall media-abetted fear over there needs some serious enlightenment.

James Greenidge Queens New York

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Well done!!!! Need more feather rufflers like this!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Protocol exists to serve the nation. Not the other way around.

Well done!

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Yamamoto gave this letter in the knowledge that the emperor would be unable to speak out. I find the ceremony and protocol surrounding the emperor ( and some other royal families ) archaic and well, plain silly ( I'm convinced he sometimes does ) but maintaining a strictly ceremonial or 'spiritual' role for the emperor is imperative. I don't think this places any undue pressure on him to speak out as the majority of the Japanese public certainly wouldn't expect it or criticise him for not doing so. For me, it's always refreshing to see that not all in Japanese politics are well-connected stuffed shirts, nutcase nationalists or dodgy geezers on the take, and some will break rank on a matter of principle.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Good man! We need more of these types of people!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Good move, that is the best way to get attention of the older population and any attention is good.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Thank-you, Yamamoto Sensei. Tradition and custom are there to be broken in the right situation. And Im pretty sure Akihito will lend a sympathetic ear, as he has on the many occasions he has come up here to Fukushima. He seems far more in touch with the public with the dropkicks in power. It's quite telling that the criticism of Yamamoto has come from the pro-nuke LDP who want to get this disaster out of the news.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Now that there is a "large area of surrounding land [which] is off-limits" near Tokyo, they could fill it with nuclear reactors and storage for the waste that they produce, and thereby provide CO2 free energy for the largest city in the world, properly compensate those displaced, pay for cancer screening and treatment, and above all stop up the leaks.

Japan's biggest problem is that it is in debt, spending more than it earns, and now even has a trade deficit. Children dying of cancer is a tragedy but if Japan goes bankrupt many more humans will die. Affordable energy is an important part of avoiding a much more tragic fiscal meltdown.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

Yamamoto was emulating an elderly Diet member named Tanaka Shozo (田中正造) who in December 1901 risked death by running past the bodyguards and up to a carriage carrying Emperor Meiji and handing him a letter begging for intervention in the pollution of the Watarase River, caused by runoff from the Ashio copper mine, which was ravaging large parts of Gunma, Tochigi and Saitama. The Japanese term for this is jikiso (直訴), literally, direct petition, and it's considered the final desperate tactic, of appealing directly to the monarch.

Unfortunately there's no English Wiki entry for Tanaka, but those who can read Japanese can follow this link:田中正造

The Ashio copper mine was the Fukushima Gempatsu of its time.

The Emperor should at the very least respond to the letter.

22 ( +23 / -1 )

Taro Yamamoto san, finally a very smart politician. You are a guy that the public can respect.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

powderbNov. 01, 2013 - 08:05AM JST Why lose respect for him? By handing this letter to the Emperor he expands the scope of the discussion and furthers >discussion. If

Because activists who do not follow the most rational and productive ways lose my respect. Expand the scope of discussion? I doubt it. The Kunaicho will crumple that letter and put it away.

-19 ( +0 / -19 )

Good job but not sure what the Emperor can do?

0 ( +1 / -1 )


5 ( +6 / -1 )

Desperate times desperate measures, out of proportion response with a crack down on dissenters...think I have seen this story play out before.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

For those saying "Don't stress the old man", "violation of subordination" and such nonsense, let me tell you: we live in the world where title no more means something. All these unspoken laws, taboos and things were introduced ages ago, they became old and rusted, so they have no place in our world anymore.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

to OssanAmerica: Yes, it has expanded the discussion. It's the lead story on Yahoo Japan, Japanese blogs, my father-in-law (Japanese) was speaking of it this morning. As of lunch time there are over 50 comments on this site alone. People are, in fact, speaking of it and perhaps something will come of it.

"Expanding the discussion" is not limited to those within the scope of power, but to those without it. And for that, it is good.

I prefer not to make comments personal but reverence for a system which does not produce substantial change is not a system worth revering.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

For those who object because it broke protocol, a question: what do you think of Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fists in protest while on the medal podium at the 1968 Olympics?

Irrelevant. As an elected lawmaker, it's his duty to address and tackle those issues instead of "passing the buck" to an Emperor who cannot exercize such power under the constitution. Furthermore, any official plea to the Emperor must first go through the Cabinet office as per article 3 of 請願法. A lawmaker disregading the said law itself not to mention using this as a political stunt deserves the criticism he is getting from the general Japanese population.

-15 ( +2 / -17 )

I have been watching Taro Yamamoto from the beginning of his campaign from US. He seems to be very sincere trying to do what is just for Japan and Japanese. However, I am afraid he will be crucified by no good oyaji politicians on the cross for what he has done. I am just crossing my fingers that all of you guys get behind him and support his courageous action. I know I will be.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Social, political changes are all based on an individual breaking the status quo, standing up in a public forum and saying enough is enough. This might be one of those moments! Given the drone like apathy and general lack of knowledge of the population, combined with a daily diet of brain candy aired on TV and a demographic that is aged and well and truly opposed to any change that counters what they were trained is normal...I am afraid it's witch burning time and in a hundred years the last 1000 Japanese will look back and think...he sat at the front of the bus. If only our grandparents had supported him.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Ossan et apologists: It has been quite useful, as quite clearly it has contributed to more discussion. Now, if you want to talk about inability to be effectual and productive, just look at the government and TEPCO as a couple of prime examples, the former in pretty much EVERY field.

This man is trying to do something after failure of the government to listen -- that's ACTION.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

serious measures are required for serious matters! The whole world is scartching their head every time a peice of news comes out of Japan about how bad the TEPCO "clean up" is going. They are all asking what is wrong with Japan and why does no one think its that big a problem.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

All of us here who supports Taro Yamamoto should send him a letter of support. Flood his office. I'm gonna.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Even though the man had the best of intentions, it was not the proper place to do it. He should have presented it to the Emperor in his private garden...away from the prying eyes of the press.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Bad move.

The taboo exists to protect people from the Emperor. Not the otherway around. Japanese people took great care not to involve the Emperor into politics. When the Emperor gets involved into politics, very bad things happen, for bad guys can easily use the Emperor as a puppet to silent the opposition. Last time when it happened about 70 years ago, Americans, Chinese and SE Asians knew how bad it was.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Why? Why? Is the living ancestor of the sun God who was sent to watch over the unique and special people of Japan not able to voice, not kill, not throw down thunder bolts...not allowed to say the current crisis the current threat to all of Japan needs to be addressed more seriously than previously has been done. He just has to urge and support a more open and strenuous effort. The opportunity was missed when he visited evacuees living in school gyms. These are his people it's above politics these are his people suffering! yet he is silent..what is the point of a living god if he sees and says little more than "I wish you the best"?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Some conservative Japanese people are making a big fuss over it and urging him to resign, saying it's unconstitutional to drag the Emperor into political issues and is insolent, ignoring "rules". As I have no idea what's the point to supplicate political issues to someone who doesn't have political power (especially when this guy is already well-known as a radical anti-nuke activist), it's beyond conceivable that the people continue to be so naive and complacent after 2 years and 8 months since such a disaster. Even though the incidence ratio of thyroid cancer of children is supposedly 150-400 times that of normal as in this August, some conservatives are saying this lawmaker's action is more of a concern than the fact that the TEPCO is planning to withdraw 200 of the expended fuel rods from the crippled No.4 reactor which as continued to be a high risk situation since the accident.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Really CH3CHO,

The comparison to WWII is illogical. The "puppet" reference is a stretch. But I feel your pain.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yamamto Taro has apologised for creating a ruckus.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Good for him. I wish people would be as shocked be the lies and stupidity that has allowed the Fukushima ttragedy to escalate.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Then who will listen? Certainly not the "beloved" LDP (except perhaps former PM, Koizumi). This is a serious issue, especially with the removal of the spent fuel rods coming...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Taro Yamamoto San Thank You So Very Much

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The guy displays an abysmal understanding of his country's Constitution, or the causes of it. The Emperor is a symbol, nothing more.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

What exactly has he accomplished besides stressing out an old man?

I have to agree with Ossan.

I've never thought of Yamada as a Black Van sort, who thinks the Emperor ought to be returned to power. I see from the up and down votes here that the English-reading (mostly foreign community) seems keen on move, but I don't expect it will be well-received at all by the locals, and that's more important.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

The chamberlain probably already burned it since the chamberlain may have his own personal reasons not to involve the J-emperor into J-politics.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

taj: "I see from the up and down votes here that the English-reading (mostly foreign community) seems keen on move, but I don't expect it will be well-received at all by the locals, and that's more important."

More important in pointing out where the nation is headed, for sure.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Read history book of Japan before WW I I was ended. Some Japanese top people used Emperor to promote their Imperialism. We had terrible time. Does Yamamoto want to recruit Emperor who knew Tokyo firebomb and destruction to make Japan as the Imperialim country again? MacArthur constitution made clear that Japanese Emperor will never be used as a puppets by anyone. Fukushima is terrible but Emperor did not create it. I see this Yamamoto action to make him famous by using Emperor just like that old Imperialists who constructed Japan into hell. New history books might not mention so try to learn history of Imperialism Japan by Wikipedia. I am sure Emperor has been showing sympathy to /Fukushima in past but maybe Yamamoto think Emperor is TEPCO? Emperor is not nuclear Scientist. Showa Tenno was botanist. this Emperor is a Marine Biologist? He can not do anything to clean up TEPCO mess. This reminds me. Former Prime-Minister Satoh (Abe's grand uncle received Nobel Peace Prize for his activity in unti A bomb. He did not handle a letter to Emperor Showa.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The royal families of countries like the UK do a lot of public charity work and show kindness to their people but in Japan they are some useless toy in the hand of the rightists who praise like they are gods while they cannot even take a letter from one of their own people. Such a shame ...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

That man deserves a medal!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As the nominal scared head of state there is an obligation on him to intercede on behalf of his underlings when they are threatened with actions that they have no control over! Step up to the plate, seize the moment! Make a stand, set a precedent an omnipresent god should be able to protect his people even verbally.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Emperor Akihito addresses the nation at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on March 16, 2011, after the powerful earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan. Photo: AP/Imperial Household Agency of Japan

Don't think he is just sitting on throne, He made Japanese nationalist mad at him when he acknowledged a Korean Ancestor. He studied Japanese History of Emperors day and night after he became crown prince.. So, he knew more than we commoners who dig around Japanese encycropedia, He also speak modern Japanese, Not like incomprehensive chokugo announcement of defeat of Japan. Old old people had to learn what Showa Tennou said on NHK radio from younger educated people. He is not going to be fooled by Emperor recruiter. He is the first Emperor of Japan who married a commoner that was praised by people to decrease power of right wing. This guy treated Emperor as fool who do not know Fukushima that Japanese TV shows every so and so. Maybe he thoght Emperor does not understand TV news?,

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A question for everyone: why is this considered a political problem and not a social problem?

Quoting 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.”

Where, exactly, is the politics in that? That is a far, far cry from having an Emperor leading an Army however symbolically. It is not a slippery slope with this issue.

This is not international politics at all. A reasonable person could argue that it's not even a domestic political issue. From these quotes he it seems a health issue, a social issue.

For the sake of discussion, if the letter had asked the Emperor for, say, help with leukemia, would people still object so vehemently?

And this: The Emperor himself has remarked “one of the social issues of concern is the rapidly aging population." This is putting his voice to a social issue. He is not silent, nor should he be, since he could affect social change if he so desired. Sad to think he would choose otherwise because of the voices of the apologists (closet nationalists).

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The Kunaicho will crumple that letter and put it away. -- Maybe Kunaicho will crumple the letter and the Emperor will never read it or respond to it, but neither Kunaicho, the LDP, nor TEPCO can crumple and hide the sentiment that delivering the letter illustrated. A direct petition to the titular supreme power of Japan - a pretty strong symbolic act here.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@powderb: Study carefully about Japanese constitution. If he is not a lawmaker, it might not be considered political. But he is a lawmaker. That constitutes of political. MacArthur constitution carefully laid out so that Japan will not be dictated by politicians (yes politicians like Yamamoto) using Emperor. Also, it is best you take some begining constitutional law class in any law school.Motice attitude of lawmakers, They go to Yasukuni no matter how much they are criticized, but never go to Emperor. Going to give a letter to emperor while they are elected lawmakers is no no.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

So which is it that bothers people:

1) The Emperor's possible involvement in politics?

2) The Emperor being spoken to?

If it is 1, then you should be mad at the Emperor for having visited the shelters in Fukushima. That is a political and social stand, by this logic.

If it is 2, then that is thinking stuck in the 18th century and in need of change.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@powderb: Read above article carefully. It is about a lawmaker's action. not Emperor's attitude or past actions.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

A hero!

Ehh... No. A "hero" puts their life at risk in order to help others. Please don't water-down the term by applying it to a politician looking to grandstand in front of the cameras.

The Emperor cannot act on this letter, nor even comment on it. He is a figurehead in every sense of the word. This politician knows this. The only benefit in doing what he did was getting his face planted on news screens across the country. People who engineer "LOOK AT ME!" events are not heroes.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

It's interesting to see the enthusiastic support for Yamamoto here. I'm an anti-nuclear lefty, but I groaned and rolled my eyes when I heard this news. I'm scouring Twitter (in Japanese) for voices of support for Yamamoto, but they are few and far between. The lefty Japanese folks I follow on Twitter are mostly saying, "I don't support what Yamamoto did, but (Abe is worse/I can understand the feeling of desperation/etc.)." I could only find one person wholeheartedly supporting his action. Search for "Taro Yamamoto" in Japanese on Twitter, and you'll find pages and pages of blistering criticism, and not all of it from the right. Maybe it's hard for those not living under a figurehead monarchy to understand the full implications of essentially requesting the monarch to become involved in a political issue. And while it is of course a humanitarian issue in many ways, it is unfortunately very much a political issue. The unequivocal support people are showing here indicates to me that they really don't understand the issue. I was a strong supporter of Yamamoto until yesterday. Now I find him an embarrassment. He needs to deal with this, but so far he's just making excuses. I'm surprised his staff did not stop him.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

For all you think Yamamoto really care about people of Fukushima, let consider these.

The Emperor visited Fukushima three times since the disaster. How many times for Yamamoto? The Emperor visited a peach farm in Fukushima who was struggling financially due to unfound rumors surrounding produce from Fukushima. Yamamoto labeled all produce/foods from Fukushima as "nuclear waste". Furthermore, in the wake of the aftermath of 3/11, he called for …「東京はもう終わり。今すぐ避難を」 evacuation of Tokyo residents and he himself moved to Osaka only to run for Upper house in Tokyo couple years later. (I got to blame the stupidity of Tokyo residents who voted for him)

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Are you OK dear!? don't lose your balance because of that heavy letter. Aaah, so desune.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It seems that Yamamoto did not know lawmakers can not hand a letter to Emperor and he was not familiar with 1apanese constitution. Why no one tutored him> Because he does not belong to any political parties and he has his only one person political party. Don't blame him of not knowing etiquette at party. He was an actor and when he was a child actor, parents of other students complained on his role in movies so his parents had to drop him out of his HS. He learned good lesson because even Japan Communist Party criticized him. Japanese lawmakese including other small parties (let to right) expressed that just scold him not imprison him.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Japan is in a sorry state these days with 80% who feel that he should not have handed a letter to the Emperor. So sad, that something so simple becomes a media frenzy. In my books he is a hero who has risked everything he had. I just wish there were more of him, a lot more.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yamamoto has shown balls for standing up for his beliefs despite surely knowing he would be crucified by the media.

Balls? No. It's this type of fear mongering off the wall radical anti-nuclear stunt tactic that go him in. Do you really think he actually cares about people of Fukushima? How many times have he visited Fukushima after 3/11?

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Yes, I do...otherwise he would not have done what he did. How many times did you visit and what have you done for Fukushima to claim the high ground to criticize him for not going?

We're not talking about me. We're talking about an elected lawmaker who hasn't set foot in Fukushima since the disaster who had the nerve to request an Emperor who visited the prefecturer three times a letter pleading for people of Fukushima.

What did Yamamoto say when he visited the typhoon stricken Oshima just recently?


"I need to be here" (meaning I need to be here to assess the real disaster)

The audacity of this guy.

He was invited because he himself is a lawmaker. The mere fact that he disregarded the 請願法 automatically disqualifies him to serve as a lawmaker. This is why the public as well as the mainstream media are outraged.

He knew very well that the Emperor can not take a stand politically due to the Constitution. And yet he gave the letter anyway further proving that he has totally disregard for the Constitution for this action was merely a "stunt" for his own political gains. This is why the public as well as the mainstream media are outraged.

He stated that there are no rules specificying that "giving a letter to the Emperor" is not allowed in this event. True. But that's like going to a wedding reception with only a single underwear on because he felt like it and there are no rules specifying that I can't do so. Lame.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

This is Nonsense.

The Japanese Emperor is existence of inviolability.

In Japan, it is "the worst impolite act." Yamamoto is a communist.

Abolition of nuclear power generation is the work which a Diet member should perform.

Yamamoto abandoned his work.

Direct government of a country and political intervention were required of the Japanese Emperor.

It is together with demanding revival of "The Imperial Japan Constitution".

All the Japanese are most enraged at the act of Yamamoto.

It became a "Anti-Nuclear Power plant activist = Terrorist" by his action.

Anti-nuclear power plant activity in Japan will become extinct completely.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

The topic of the article is him handed out his letter to Emperor. It has nothing to do with how many times who went Fukushima or not. I kind of feeling sorry to Yamamoto because it is obvious he was ignorant of Japanese Constitution and Emperor's role. He supported some aganda of Japan Communist Party but JCP criticized this action by him. However, lawmakers probably sympasized his action. They say just to scold him but no criminal procedure against him. He is not like Money swindlers who collect donation using Fukushima cause. He is spending his money. He has so many movies and TV series so he must be using Royalty fees he receives. I think he really cares about children of Fukushima. So, he goofed with his ignorance. Well he is still young so he will learn. He became elected politician by himself. Many young politicians had father's names and backers inherited from his ancesotrs. With HS drop out education, without any family background in politics, he is trying to push his agenda. No (Jiban or, Kanban) Nut older politicians are treating him like a little goofy kids by scolding him. That is Japanese politics .....

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This kinda reminds me of that story from old Japan where some local schlub wrote a protest letter to the shogun about how bad the daimyo in his domain was. He waited for the shogun to pass by on some stretch of the tokaido. When the shoguns pallanquine, or whatever you call the thing he was carried about on, came by, the schlub, per tradition, stuck his protest on the edge of a long poll and shoved it into the shoguns face. The shogun read it, deemed the complaint proper and corrected the daimyo's bad conduct.

And also ordered the execution of the schlub. Per tradition. Now, that was one ordinary schlub who had guts!

Good on Mr. Yamamoto. Or, to borrow a phrase, this is what Japan needs more of:


-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I have a strange feeling about many positive reactions to Yamamoto's conduct by foreingers. His action bewildered many Japanese and most of the Japanese people think he did a thing out of place. My first impression was this guy is ignorant or has an anachronic thinking. His conduct reminded me of a case In the long past of Meiji period when a Japanese statesman Shozo Tanaka who called on the government to order the copper mine closure of Ashio for pollutions but the government took little notice and In 1901 he resigned from the Diet in disgust and later tried to make a direct petition to the Emperor. He was arrested but soon released. Before the W.W. II, the emperor had a great influence on national affairs but the time has changed and today all know that our constitutuion prohibits the emperor's influences on national matters. The headline of this story says "taboo." It is not taboo but it is "out of place."

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It became a "Anti-Nuclear Power plant activist = Terrorist" by his action.

Since when did giving someone a letter - that as far as we know contains no insults, no threats, no obscenities, no nothing - become a terrorist action? Grow up.

All the Japanese are most enraged

Actually, no. The 2-chan gang may as usual be posting their barely-intelligible rantings, but the man in the street is barely moved. Of all the real-life people I've spoken to, the most common response is 'Meh'.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@cleo: handing any note tp Emperor by lawmakers has been illegal in Japan since MacArthur Constitution became official/ Yamamoto did not give to someone, He handed to Emperor. Contents do not matter. Just illegal. Usually, hello jail, but he gets only scolding. Maybe bakatare? It is just Japanese law. Baka is not used to defend any crime anyway.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

handing any note tp Emperor by lawmakers has been illegal in Japan since MacArthur

Illegal I can understand. What bothers me is the inane suggestions that it's terrorism.

Though I'm not sure about the illegal thing, either; which law is it written into? Not quite the done thing is not illegal.

If it were illegal I'm sure he would have been wrestled to the ground then and there by the Emperor's bodyguards and dragged off to meet his fate at the hands of the judiciary. That didn't happen. He wasn't even escorted politely away. That leads me to surmise that handing a letter to the Emperor is not in itself a criminal act. Nor should it be.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Under Abe's proposed National Security plan Taro would be whisked off to Guantanamo.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think the folks here praising Yamamoto don't understand that he has actually hurt the effort to ban nuclear power in Japan and to truly fix the problems in Fukushima. Yes, the right-wingers are bashing him for the same reason right-wingers are bashing Obama over the Affordable Care Act (to wit, they hate everything he does, by default), but within Japan Yamamoto is being criticized from the left, and from anti-nuclear activists. His actions were irrational, if only because the Emperor is in no position to do anything at all. He's completely powerless in this situation. And if you think his actions have at least helped raise awareness of the problems in Fukushima, think again. For two days, no one has been talking about Fukushima, because everyone's been talking about Yamamoto's behavior. He has in fact obscured the issue of Fukushima and nuclear power in general.

I remember seeing Yamamoto make his debut on Japanese TV as a teenager twenty-some years ago. He was a handsome kid, but made his name by acting like a lunatic. When I heard he was going into politics, I thought it was a joke, but when he began to speak out on progressive issues, I supported him. Since this kerfuffle, I've heard other stories about his behavior that have completely disillusioned me. He seems unable to suppress his celebrity instinct to make everything about himself, and to stand out by acting like a jackass. Right now, in the effort to end nuclear power in Japan and clean up Fukushima, Yamamoto is standing in the way, period. He should resign, do that famous Japanese hansei, grow up, and think about what he can do to really contribute to the causes he seems to genuinely care about.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Action of Yamamoto is together with these.

-The act which is vomiting spittle to the pope who goes to the Vatican and is performing the Mass.

-It goes to a mecca, In the inside of a Muslim's worship,Destruction of the Koran. .

While the Japanese Emperor is an emperor, he is a pope of "Shintoism".

The position of Yamamoto in Japan could understand because you perform these.

This is not "Yamato-Spirits".

In Japan,"Syo-Gun" and "Dai-Myo" are human's ranks. But the Japanese Emperor is "God."

A Rank is different.

The number of the examples which asked the emperor for political intervention directly will be two in 2673 of history of Japan.

It must not be and is an impossible thing.

The enraged Japanese will do Kamikaze-Attack" to Yamamoto.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Protocol is very important...right up until it becomes a barrier to solving problems. At that point you break it.

I find people's misunderstandings of the problem with this very ironic. Most of the same people saying the Emperor should be allowed to get involved with this kind of thing are the very same I see here talking about Japanese history pre-WWII. Are you not aware of the reasons why the Emperor is kept seperate from politics and politicians? If the Emperor were to act on this letter, he would be acting as a tool of a politician. This is against the constitution of this country and would have the other countries in Asia up in arms. You know how many people in Asia do not want aritcle 9 of the constitution changed? Well, they certainly do not want the emperor to be in a position of power. It is the fact that Yamamoto was specifically requesting some sort of action on the part of the Emperor that is the problem. Do not misunderstand, I am not saying action in this case is a bad thing. I am saying, under the Japanese constitution, it is illegal for the Emperor to become a tool for political gain or for a politician.

In my case, I am not really talking about the lack of protocol regarding the actual handing of the letter to the Emperor. As has been noted, it is not illegal. However, surely Yamamoto was expecting a response from the Emperor. Expecting a response to a political request, which is what this was, is illegal under the present constitution. If you are suggesting changing this to make it so that the Emperor can make political decisions at the behest of politicians, you are going to make a lot of enemies all over Asia, not to mention much of Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Matt Thorn For two days, no one has been talking about Fukushima, because everyone's been talking about Yamamoto's behavior. He has in fact obscured the issue of Fukushima and nuclear power in general.

Sorry Matt but you are completely wrong. His actions raise the specter of awareness exponentially. The gesture is about rethinking outdated protocols and behavior. Everyone knows that the Emperor is simply a symbol without power. However, its about changing the cultural logic in japan - a logic that teaches people to not question authoritarianism. Even the 3/11 stated that this unquestioning obedience was a cultural flaw in their society and served to compound the inherent organization problems behind Tepco's negligence. If only Taro's actions serve to generate awareness by creating contributions to this forum then his actions were successful.

Do you think that left to their own devices the Abe government will correct the errors of TEPCO and protect the children of Japan. How naive you are.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Japan's Sho-gun and prime minister have isolated the Japanese Emperor from politics.

The Japanese Emperor's talk has an absolute effect in Japan.

Japanese people will execute a command of the Japanese Emperor faithfully.

Even 10 million military power Imperial Japanese Army was not able to oppose the Japanese Emperor.

Prime Minister Abe's political power breaks down from the Japanese Emperor's "one word".

Is it serious?

If Yamamoto's letter is a "Nuclear Armament Demand"?

If the Japanese Emperor reads and declares it?

It is "Japanese people perform it faithfully."

Japan holds the cash of 5 trillion dollars, and the strongest navy in Asia.It has plutonium which can make the nuclear missile for 5,500 shots.

Probably, ASEAN and the U.S. are glad. Military strength balance in the world will change in an instant.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

(n feudal era, people who travel from one Daimyo;s territory to neighboring Daimyo;s territory had to get "tegata" that is travel permit plate. Only itinerant traveling merchants named tekiya -atariya could get. So, traveling to edo (current Tokyo is not easy unless one has secret spy missioned ninjas who mingle to tekiyas. Then, Shogun was a top of top. He only use his subrodinate samurais and met daimyos. Commoner petition to shogun or daimyo? beheaded by security low ranking samurais. Beheading commoners were custom of low ranking samuraus who had w swords on their hips. High ranking samurais administrative jobs and good with books. Until after Boshin War, Murders by row ranking samuraus were not considered murders. Crime by samurais? Seppuku (harakiri) for uooer class samurais. Uchikubi for low ranking soldiers. There is no records of Feudal era when commoners could meet daimyo or shogun. unsatisfied farmers did Ikki )sabotage) until they were killed or pacified by their daimyo head (Hanshu( That was why Bosahin winners created no-murder, no sword constitution of Meij Ishin. Appealing with ketters were not a Japanese custom yet. .Commoners did not have education. There were many unique Japanese laws but this is one of antiquated law. Even so, the law is law. Until repealed bu Ministry of Justice, people have to follow. he is lucky, Baka became excuse not to be prosecuted.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Since Taro Yamamoto is a lawmaker, it is his duty to tackle the nuclear issue. He should not push his work onto the Emperor, who has no power or cannot have power in politics under Japanese constitution. Imperial family members including the Emperor have visited Tohoku area including Fukushima many times and encouraged the people there. Showing sympathy towards people, encouraging them and praying for them. These are what Japanese are wanting from him and his family. Annoying him is the least we want.

Negative for his behavior is over 80%

Those who called Yamamoto a hero should know what he has said or done by now. He is just making a fuss repeatedly. He was so irresponsible in Izu Ohshima after the typhoon attacked. It is not reasonable to regard anti-nuclear activists as heroes unconditionally.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

From now on, it would be difficult for the emperor to visit Fukushima again even if he wants to because he has to be careful not to be seen he is acting upon Yamamoto's request.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If this were 1946 or 1926 then this would be a political problem. For it to be a political problem assumes the Emperor has actual power. He doesn't. Just a symbol. So why the worry? It's absurd. It's an old feudal mentality that helps no one.

The Emperor isn't a "rank of God." Just a man. A regular man: the same as me and you and the college student working nights at Yoshinoya and the tired salarymen on the train. No more. No less.

Do the apologists think that by giving just a man a letter that he will suddenly become empowered and stability will be shattered? You are living in the past.

Just a regular man. A good man, indeed. A good man with influence that should be used, like a pop star or a footballer or a well liked celebrity on an evening variety show.

Hypothetical: if the Emperor tomorrow appealed for more funding for the clean-up, international help, and aid for those still living in temporary housing, wouldn't that be good? And if it happened because a lawmaker pushed him to do so, so what? Even a grandstanding lawmaker, so what?

If AKB48 can make a commercial to voice support for those in Fukushima, why can't the Emperor? Why can't people appeal to him directly to do so? This is not feudal Japan. This is not the delicate postwar years.

He is not invading China or Korea or Manchuria. Do you really think it could snowball to something absurd like that?

There is a difference between using one's voice for to influence and change and using it to start wars and divide nations.

If the Emperor is to remain a silent voice to whom no appeals be made, well, might as well just get rid of the Imperial Family anyway.

It's November of 2013. The world has changed.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

So why the worry?

It is illegal for a politician to use the Emperor to do something. It is not illegal to ask AKB48.

It's November of 2013. The world has changed.

Tell that to the people that will be up in arms, not only in Japan, but in all of Asia, if the constitution were to be changed to let the Emperor do the bidding of politicians.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Slumbog--- Yes, I know it's illegal. My point is it shouldn't be for domestic matters. Do you really think this issue is analogous to Emperor being used as a puppet for international goals? Not comparable at all.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

My point is that it would take a change to the constitution to make it legal.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Maybe the Emperor doesn't care about the things like I wrote above because he is a kind person. But I feel sorry for the Emperor and Empress because the couple have been doing a lot for the people of Fukushima. If it were about something elso, it might have been different.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

After Japan was defeated, All assets of Imperial House were confisticated by Japanese Govt. Ministry of Imoearial House (Kunai-Sho) belong to Prime Minister;s Office that means Japanese Diets control it. Any incme from these assets are governed by(Kunai-sho) Unlike we people, Emperor can;t handle income by himself by regulation. Some people wondered tax money, but tax money is not used by Kunaicho (Imperial House Agency). Japanese people are liberated but not them. You ought read list of what he can or can not do. About ten can't. Too many restrictions. Well, this letter handing, it violated a law called SeiGan Ho. Sei (ukeru) is acceptance. Gan (negau) apply to petition or letter. How is law. Article 13 stated. Anyone who want to hand a letter can do by first hand to Govt such as Diet or PM's office. Not directly. The SeiGan Ho clearly stated to prohibited any elected official to hand any document to Emperor. Probably the letter was submitted to the Kunai-sho and forwarded to the Cabinet office. Some people suggested to change law. Yes, it can be done, the change petition documents will go to Japanese Diet meetings. When 2/3 of both houses approve changes, they can be done. Until that, it is illegal to hand a note to emperor is illegal. The contents do not matter. Maybe Gen. Mac wanted to prevent Emperor buried under a mass of letters? he wanted Emperor not to be injured by tons of letters pouring on emperor?.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The emperor seems to be a gracious and kind-hearted man. But the Imperial House Agency is full of asshats.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@Sir: They are old, but this kind of events are on the list of 'has to do"/ They can;t say U want to take a nap. They can;t say I want to read that letter because they don;t have freedom. He has to preside openings of both diet, and many official duties. They don;t have freedom of sneaking out even He is not healthy. They can;t say I want to watch World Series Baseball game so I can;t go. No freedom. One of princess refused to attend, but others attended because they care people. He can not even say I want to continue my marine biology research, They have to obey Kunaicho people;s schedule no matter what they wish.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This WAS against the law.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@toshiko Ah, I see, I didn't know about this little 請願法.

But it is not surprising he didn't go to prison. There's no punishment (罰則) set in the law. So what he did was legally wrong, but he cannot be criminally punished.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

While I think the Emperor should be more involved, and he should know what is going on with his people. The way the government acts like Fukushima is a huge secret by this man's simple gesture of giving the emperor a letter explaining that this will be bad for Japan in the long run if something isnt done.

sadly I know he's mainly just a figurehead now. He has no real power anymore.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

One has to be prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced with a jail term in order to be placed in jaies. Also, there are appeal courts, too. He is not convicted, is not sentenced. You might noit know Seigan-ho but some comment writers know that. for instance, nigelboy. He commented way ahead of my comment. Upon conviction, if bails are set, bond, the defendant pay, if he can afford (Keihou), then released on own recognition. . One can appeal to upper court. (KeiHou ... Criminal law) Yamamoto hasn't been convicted under criminal law/. Beside that, Seigan-Hou is not a criminal law. t

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“I wanted to directly tell the emperor of the current situation,”

="I knew it would cause a mini media storm and saw it an absolutely ideal chance to generate some publicity. The Emperor has his finger on the pulse of the nation and if anyone can bring about a change in the way things are, it is him - so I took the opportunity"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lucky for Yamamoto. Kunaicho official put the letter in his pocket. If he read, it is a social issue. Mainly. that means the letter will be inspected by Ministry of Public Welfare (Kousei-Shou) That means content is political (officially). Any issues that has to involve Govt is political according to various laws including constitution, If Emperor involves himself following the letter, He will be considered he acted unconstitutionally and it will have a big headache like whether to make Him abdicate as Emperor for least punishment. You can understand why /Emperor handed the letter to Kunaicho Official and Official did not read.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Considering that the emperor has visited Fukushima residents on a number of occasions,it would be disingenuous to suggest the he has no interest in the welfare of the people of Japan. I am sure that royal protocol makes allowances for petitioning in cases of extreme radioactive poisoning and fallout.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This was a bold move, taking on the form of the ancient practice of petitioning the sovereign. In the video, the Emperor's body language reveals a kind and sympathetic person, as does that of the Empress. The members of the Imperial Household Agency, however, being the pros that they are, are well-drilled to handle any situation. The woman standing next to the Chamberlain and behind the Empress has the face of someone not to be trifled with.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yamamoto did bad for Harakiri level as PM. This PM does not know the Constitution? The Emperor can not get involve politics. The emperor has authority in more cultural sense and power is possessed the prime-minister and government. So that, if we don't like what is going on, we could change the government but keep the authority for stabilization of 130 million people. Yamamoto geopardized the system. For last 68 years, we kept the balance in this way. Trying to use the emperor for his political advantage even that is a good intention might have some issue in our constitution as PM. It could affect the atmosphere of the Natinal Diet, once emperor is aware of some political issue as inconspicuous effect since his authority is very strong still even with out official power but some tacit level. Yamamoto should resign today. We can not make an exception in our constitution, unless we change the position of our emperor politically.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

good move in giving the letter, the contents needed to be screamed out to him, too bad he blindly handed over the letter to his handler before reading it.

when the royal family visits Fukushima area, they are working in a political way.

those opposed to the letter given to him, are interpreting what THEY think the constitution means.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

People:: look at the picture. Notice left hand of Yamamoto. Looks like he has invitation notice and instruction sheet he received when he was going to be entered to party area. Instruction that say at dinner you will wait to eat or drink green tea until Emperor begins to eat, and several more etiquette guide, etc. There were 1800 guests so you have to identify yourself along showing the invitation note to show you are invited. Secfurity is tight in this kind of occasion. Now, look at the right hand of Empress. She is supporting Emperor;s arm. She must have noticed papers Yamamoto has. While she was student majoring English Literature at Seishin Joshi Gakuyen University, every year, she was the honor student, She is very smart. She probably gave an attention to emperor about Yamamoto;s letter so that Emperor will give that to Kunaicho official (Otsuki-no-hito)/ Guests who are known by security officers do not receive manner guide note but politician like Yamamoto , they hand out. When you are invited, you go there with your family limo and get your chauffeur deposit you near the gate. There is not enough parking spaces near Palace.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You people might not believe but there is another law that prohibit Japanese people do. It is illegal to donate anything to Emperor. Japanese people may be very quiet on the action of Yamamoto but, they learned Japanese Constitution while they were attending schools. Japan has 9 years of Gimu Kyoiku (Mandatory schooling). So even quiet, they know constitution. Someone wrote why he was not wrestled and handcuffed/ Well, Kunaicho Security people are not cops. In this kind of crowd, some security people have list of invited guest and put check mark on top of the guest name. The list, like any Japanese books. from up to down, with right side of page to lefft, flipping to next page. I don't lmow if they do body search or not.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't see anything illegal written in the constitution. It was a letter, not property. It may be illegal for the Emperor to act on it with the consent of the Cabinet. That fact that there is any kind of monarch in any government in the modern world is ridiculous. I don't care if it's Japan, UK, or any or the other 45 or so countries. I was surprised at Canada and NZ.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is part of info I found. Yamamoto said he handed the letter to the emperor without realizing he was breaking long-established rules. Those invited to the biannual imperial garden parties in the Akasaka Imperial Gardens in Tokyo receive a guide from the Imperial Household Agency beforehand explaining etiquette. The guide contains a map of the gardens. On the back, a note reads, “When (the emperor, the empress and other members of the imperial family) visit you, please refrain from taking photos of them.” However, the note does not say, “Don’t hand objects to them.” A high-ranking official of the Imperial Household Agency clearly thought Yamamoto lacked common sense. “It is not a thing we have bothered to write as a warning,” the official said. “It (Yamamoto’s act) is extremely troublesome.” A different official of the agency said: “The Constitution says that the emperor does not have powers related to government. To the emperor, he (Yamamoto) tried to make a direct appeal about the current situation regarding the nuclear accident. It is an apparent political exploitation (of the emperor).” There are a whole bunches of negative opinions of all sort of people and a very few sympathetic comments.

Above is just info, not my opinion. Chapter 1 of J Constitution has 8 artivles. I don;t think Artic le 9 is applied to this case. More likely Sei-Gan-Ho 3. violation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Nuclear disaster? But I'd rather meet Kumamon!"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Article 8 of Constitution: No property can be given to or received by the Imperial House, nor can any gift to tbe made therefrom, without the authorization of the Diet. Three reports on this incident say Empress Michiko placed her hands behind of Emperor's elbow on Video. I just analyzed by the above picture but my guess was right on Empress hand. The white paper wad is not one page so maybe this is considered the violation of Article 8? These report says that the paper is Washi and hand written with brush with sumi ink. Washi is Japanese paper differently made than factory made papers. It is not a piece of paper.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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