Actor-turned-politician and staunch anti-nuclear activist Taro Yamamoto has gotten himself in hot water over his impulsive decision to hand a letter to Emperor Akihito during a garden party on Thursday. He had to explain himself to an Upper House committee who will then decide if punishment should be meted out for the independent politician for an action that “defied common sense,” according to them.
“I was not aware that (such an action) was violating the rules. I will accept any decision and opinion of the parliament,” Yamamoto told the chairman of the Standing Committee on Rules and Administration, Mitsuhide Iwaki. The role of the Emperor for some decades now is seen as “symbolic” and he can only act on matters enumerated in the Constitution. Yamamoto insists that informing Emperor Akihito about his own stand and feelings about nuclear energy does not constitute political exploitation of the Emperor. “I didn’t think that (my action) would cause such trouble. I feel sorry about that,” he was quoted as saying during the hearing.
Cabinet members however criticized the 38-year-old member of the five-seat Tokyo constituency. Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Hakubun Shimomura has asked for Yamamoto’s resignation, saying he used the Emperor for his own political purposes. Akihiro Ota, the Minister for Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism meanwhile said that the young lawmaker lacks common sense and his actions were inappropriate. Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yoshitaka Shindo said this was a breach of etiquette against the Imperial Family and was not an act befitting a lawmaker. A number of politicians and netizens as well have been asking for his resignation but Yamamoto has been silent on whether or not he will. The committee will decide on Tuesday the appropriate action for this incident.
[ via Global Post ]