Emperor Akihito hints at abdication

Emperor Akihito in 2014
Emperor Akihito in 2014. Photo: William Ng, US State Department

In only his second televised speech ever, Akihito, the emperor of Japan, hinted that he may want to be able to abdicate sometime in the future due to his advanced age and declining health. The Japanese constitution in its current form bars the emperor from abdicating, meaning that a change would be necessary in order to allow Akihito to step down in favour of the crown prince Naruhito.

While the opinion of the public seem to be that the emperor should be allowed to retire and formally abdicate, there is considerably more resistance to such a change in the current government led by the Liberal Democratic Party and in particular among its conservative minor coalition partner party.

Akihito, now 82 years old, has been emperor since 1989 when he succeeded his father emperor Hirohito (Showa) on the chrysanthemum throne.

Only in Japan…

Waitress in Akihabara café
Waitress at the Meteor Shower cosplay café in Akihabara, Tokyo. Source: Anime News Network

There are some things that just really can’t exist anywhere else than in Japan and even there only in some select places like the famous – or infamous – Akihabara district in Tokyo. Such as the latest addition to their very special café settings, this time it is a pop-up café with the special gimmick of having the staff wearing the easily recognizable Japanese school swimsuits and of course having a menu styled appropriately with beverages such as “sweet pool juice” and jello.

The café which is a part of the cosplay café Meteor Shower is a promo for the June 14 release of the live-action film “Sweet Poolside”, adapted from a manga.

Horribly devastating Japanese earthquake

The earthquake with its epicentre outside the northeastern coast of the Japanese main island of Honshu seems to have been an unusually bad one even by Japanese standards. By being an 8 on the Richter scale it is one of the biggest earthquakes ever recorded, and even if it struck the most earthquake-prepared country in the world, the devastation is massive.

Even if the actual earthquake itself most likely made for a not insignificant amount of damage, the really horrible part is without doubt the giant tsunami that it produced. With waves of up to ten metres, there simply cannot have been much in the way of disaster preparation that have withstood the destructive forces of the water.

One question that draws to mind is if this was the great earthquake that is expected to strike the Kanto region anytime now and to be compared to the destructive 1923 Kanto earthquake. According to the seismologists it maybe was not. Which provides for an equally horrible disaster scenario if that is the case. Because even if this current one struck further north than Tokyo it definitely to some degree affected the city as well, and we can only try to imagine if an earthquake of equal power would strike even closer to the Tokyo metropolitan region, considering the extreme destruction made by this current earthquake and tsunami on a less populated region than Kanto.

In either case, what is unfolding is a tragedy and unfortunately a very harsh reminder of how small we humans are compared to nature’s powers.

Huge earthquake and tsunami in Japan

There has been a very big earthquake in the sea outside the Japanese east coast. The earthquake apparently measured 8.8 on the Richter scale and has also produced a tsunami which hit part of the northeastern coast of Japan with waves up to ten metres in height. The city of Sendai and the Miyagi prefecture seem to be severely hit while large parts of eastern Honshu, including Tokyo, have been affected to different degrees.