On Thursday, a lawmaker in Japan handed Emperor Akihito a letter in which he described his concern regarding the health impact Fukushima nuclear disaster has. By trying to involve the emperor in politics, the lawmaker broke a taboo, the international media comments.
The lawmaker Taro Yamamoto, who is also an anti-nuclear activist, handed his letter to the Emperor during a garden party. The gesture set off an avalanche of online protests coming from critics shocked at his action.
“I wanted to directly tell the emperor of the current situation,” Yamamoto said, referring to the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant north of Tokyo, which has been leaking radioactivity since it was hit by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
“I wanted him to know about the children who have been contaminated by radiation. If this goes on, there will be serious health impacts.”
The Emperor took the letter, but then handed it to a nearby chamberlain without making any comment, according to Yamamoto.
Around 150,000 Fukushima residents were evacuated do to high radiation still present in the area around the nuclear plant.
Akihito, who turns 80 in December, fills a purely ceremonial role and remains above the political fray.