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March 15th, 2011


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09:22 am - Two unrelated questions
azdak asks a question which hadn't occurred to me - why hasn't the Emperor of Japan expressed any comment on the disaster? It may be that the role of the Emperor is so different from that of royal families in Europe that it is not expected? Not even a message via minions? In the UK this sort of thing is more or less the main/only job of the Royal family, visiting the disaster site, praising the rescue teams etc. It's an interesting - and quite big - cultural difference.

And here's a completely unrelated technical question. I use Google Chrome as a browser and Flash keeps crashing. I can temporarily fix it by disabling the latest version of Flash, and that works for a few moments and then it crashes again. There are various discussions threads talking about it, but none of the proposed solutions seems to work permanently. I am going to ditch Chrome today if I don't find a solution, which is annoying because I got used to it.

(21 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


From:abigail_n
Date:March 15th, 2011 09:42 am (UTC)
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You know, I've been wondering the same thing. I suppose it's possible that the imperial family has made a statement, but the international press hasn't seen fit to report it. Though given how much the press loves to report of the doings of royalty, that seems unlikely.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 15th, 2011 09:44 am (UTC)
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It does seem unlikely. I have seen so many speeches by the Japanese PM and other politicians, that I can't think that a statement by the Emperor would go unreported.
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From:communicator
Date:March 15th, 2011 09:45 am (UTC)
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that was me - changed to Firefox, forgot to log back in
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From:steepholm
Date:March 15th, 2011 09:53 am (UTC)
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Googling the words 'emperor' 'japan' and 'earthquake' brings up numerous reports of world leaders sending him their condolences, but I couldn't find any of him responding. Perhaps it's enough to know he's there. Personally I'd rather resources weren't diverted into escorting him through the rubble for a photoshoot that might better be used saving people's lives, but then that's me and royalty.
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From:communicator
Date:March 15th, 2011 10:00 am (UTC)
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Yes, perhaps they don't want it, perhaps an Emperor utterly aloof from the world is what they prefer - different religious and cultural context altogether of course.
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From:kalypso_v
Date:March 15th, 2011 11:14 am (UTC)
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I wondered about that on the first day - like abigail_n I imagined that the UK press weren't bothered with the Emperor (on the whole, they only seem interested in poor Masako and the succession crisis).

I just tried googling, and a rather strange royalist site had some bits of news: "The Emperor has sent condolences to the victims of the earthquake as well as sympathy to the wounded through Mr. Hageta of Imperial Household Agency. His words have been sent through many broadcast companies."

Also "Mr. Kazaoka of Imperial Household Agency said that The Emperor and the Empress are considering to visit the disaster areas. But at this moment the rescue effort takes precedence over their visits. And waiting to hear from authorized people regarding their visit. There are limited use of power in the area which include Tokyo, to share this difficult time, the Emperor's place is also limiting the use of electric power."

There were also various reports from February about Akihito having treatment for a heart problem, so he may be lying low for that reason.

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From:communicator
Date:March 15th, 2011 11:17 am (UTC)
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Yes, this all adds up to a possible combination of factors - cultural, personal, and practical. I hope it's clear I am not saying 'different from us' is bad, it's just interesting.
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From:redstarrobot
Date:March 15th, 2011 11:56 am (UTC)
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I think the main difference would be language barrier; we don't have access to the statements that are on the Japanese evening news. Given what I hear of the extent of the rescue effort, I doubt any other country would be sending their royal family in to survey damage and eat up resources, either - nuclear reactors melting down, thousands still stuck on rooftops, 90% of the bodies expected to be discovered down the road. Aside from that bit I read about arranging for some prayers at a shrine (which, come to think of it, might be pretty standard for other heads-of-official-churches, too), it seems like an entirely standard response to me.
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From:communicator
Date:March 15th, 2011 01:07 pm (UTC)
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I don't think it's how it would have played out in this country - not saying it's better or worse - but I think the royals would be shipped in.

But I agree that there are language issues in the way it has been reported.
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From:julesjones
Date:March 15th, 2011 09:17 pm (UTC)
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I think HM would dig her heels in at being shipped in to an area where she would only get in the way, but that's because she knows only too well from personal experience what it's like to be one of the grunts on the ground when the world has gone to hell in a handbasket (though even being a driver/mechanic in the Blitz probably wasn't as extreme as what the Japanese military are dealing with right now).
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From:redstarrobot
Date:March 15th, 2011 11:50 am (UTC)
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It was a rather strange royalist site, wasn't it?
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From:kalypso_v
Date:March 15th, 2011 12:08 pm (UTC)
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"Thank God the JRF are safe!" "You mean the JIF."
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From:tehomet
Date:March 15th, 2011 11:26 am (UTC)
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I think the Japanese monarch is simply being reserved. I remember reading in the Guardian, I think, that he had sent messages to the rescuers.

Flash are supposed to be working on a new version that will fix the issue with Chrome.
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From:communicator
Date:March 15th, 2011 11:34 am (UTC)
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I found complaints about 'flash crash' going back months, and I think Google have been poor about it. It's really annoying and they should have been more up front about it I think, and sorted it out more quickly.
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From:redstarrobot
Date:March 15th, 2011 11:49 am (UTC)
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I wonder if lack of English-language reporting on the Emperor is the issue, because, when I googled it, apparently the Emperor has been sending condolences to victims, making statements, and fulfilling a religious role, choosing not to visit the site to allow rescuers to continue, but few to none of the sources are English-language. (And, let's face it, it doesn't sell as many English-language papers as the threat of nuclear meltdowns.)
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From:kalypso_v
Date:March 15th, 2011 12:12 pm (UTC)
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Also, I think so much of the Emperor's business is conducted by the Imperial Household Agency (one of whose primary functions appears to be squashing any trace of individuality) that there's probably nothing visually interesting for our networks to pass on. At least the PM can be shown, even if he's subtitled.
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From:azdak
Date:March 15th, 2011 03:15 pm (UTC)
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read2day says she asked her Japanese stepmother, who's on Tokyo, and she said the Emperor issued a statement on March 12 expressing symptahy for the victims and appreciation for the rescue efforts. Presumably the Western press didn't report on this because it wasn't accompanied by any kind of visual image they could use. So pretty much what kalypso_v suggests.
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From:steepholm
Date:March 16th, 2011 09:33 am (UTC)
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Cleary, however, he finds time in his busy schedule to read Communicator's blog.
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From:kalypso_v
Date:March 16th, 2011 11:06 am (UTC)
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Yes, I woke today to the news that he had made "a rare television appearance" so presumably we'll get to see that now.
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From:azdak
Date:March 16th, 2011 11:49 am (UTC)
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I hope it is that he's been surfing the internet, and not that he thinks the situation is going to get even worse. There's a quote up on the BBC news feed site now:

Sato Takero from Sendai has given his reaction to the Japanese emperor's address: "I was born after World War Two," he says. "This is the first time for me to see him on TV or through the internet. It's something beyond imagination. If you understand the culture of the Japanese it is very, very rare for him to come out."

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From:communicator
Date:March 16th, 2011 11:53 am (UTC)
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Very, very interesting. It does seem to indicate a profound cultural difference in the role of the 'monarchy' in society.

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