Thursday, November 7, 2013

Appeal to the Emperor, rude act of Taro Yamamoto

When I was in the USA, an astonishing event occurred.

Mr. Taro Yamamoto, a member of the Upper House, handed a letter directly to the Emperor at a garden party on Oct. 31. He said that he had written the letter regarding the current fear of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. His intention was to appeal the danger of nuclear power.

His behavior was broadly criticized.

A major criticism is that he was attempting to utilize the Emperor for propaganda. The Emperor of Japan is an only symbolic leader of Japan. He does not have a certain force to influence on changing policy. His action is odd as this fact is a common sense. On the other hand, his behavior was broadly picked up by the media. It helped him to be known widely as an anti-nuclear activist. So he achieved his goal on his stance. Many would consider this as a political misuse of the Emperor.

Of course, it is another criticism that handing a letter directly to the Emperor is considered as an extremely rude act.
By Japanese law, any appeal to the Emperor has to be done through the cabinet. The procedure of Mr. Yamamoto's actions are considered as actually illegal. Thus, the Emperor refused to accept his letter. A person nearby accepted the letter at the time.

On the other hand, there are some people who approve Mr. Yamamoto's action. To these people he is deemed as a hero who is willing to do anything for his ideal.

In my opinion, Mr. Yamamoto's action is very naive.

The Japanese have to be extremely cautious in matters in concerning the Emperor. Lessons learned from the WW II suggest that we have to err on the side of caution as it may cause an abuse of political power.

In addition, his basic knowledge regarding the nuclear power is very poor. His comments about nuclear power was irrational. Apparently, nuclear contamination in Fukushima prefecture is a big problem. However, most scientists think that citizens in these places have no significant risk to develop cancer in the future.

I feel that Mr. Yamamoto was naive in both his thought and his behavior. It is shameful that a member of the Upper House would make such a display.

However, I do not believe that his actions warrant his resignation. One rude behavior does not justify extreme punishment. Making sure that Mr. Yamamoto is not reelected IS our responsibility.

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