The Imperial Household Agency on Tuesday labeled as "inappropriate" the decision by House of Councillors member Taro Yamamoto to hand a letter to Emperor Akihito at the imperial garden party in Tokyo last week.
Yamamoto, who is already under fire from Diet members, said the letter expressed his fear about the health impact of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, breaking a taboo by trying to involve the emperor in politics. The act by Yamamoto, who is an anti-nuclear activist, has set off a storm of protest on the Internet from critics shocked at his action.
“I wanted to directly tell the emperor of the current situation,” Yamamoto told reporters, referring to the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant. “I wanted him to know about the children who have been contaminated by radiation. If this goes on, there will be serious health impacts.”
Tuesday's comments by the Imperial Household Agency were the first response by the agency to the furor. Shinichiro Yamamoto, deputy director of the agency, said: "We invite people from various walks of life to the autumn garden party for the opportunity to be recognized for their achievements, so for a Diet member to use that opportunity to hand a letter to the emperor is completely inappropriate," Fuji TV reported. He added that according to protocol, any letter containing official business is never to be handed directly to the emperor under any circumstances.
After Yamamoto handed his letter to the emperor, a chamberlain took it and put it in his coat pocket.
Yamamoto has held two news conferences since the incident and said he will not resign from the Diet. Though he is an independent lawmaker, his fate will rest with the Upper House Rules and Administration Committee.© Japan Today