Prince Akishino questions rite funding
NHK -- Dec 01
Prince Akishino, the second son of Emperor Akihito, has raised the question about the use of public funds for a ritual following next year's Imperial succession.

The Prince was speaking at a news conference prior to his 53rd birthday on Friday. He will be first in line to the throne after the accession of his brother, Crown Prince Naruhito, on May 1st, 2019.

In reference to the ritual known as "Daijosai," which is to be held in November of next year, Prince Akishino said he wonders whether it is appropriate to pay for the highly religious event with state funds.

He said that after considering relations between the Imperial family and the Constitution, he feels the ritual should be financed from the budget for the Imperial family.

The government disbursed public funds earmarked for the Imperial family's official duties to cover the cost of the previous Daijosai ritual the year after Emperor Akihito ascended to the throne in 1989.

The government explained at that time that it was an important ceremony for the state as well. It was the first such rite held under the post-war Constitution, which stipulates the separation of religion and the state.

Following the example, the government has already decided to pay for the upcoming Daijosai event with public money.

The government spent about 20 million dollars of public money for the previous rite. The Imperial family's budget is relatively small, at about 2.8 million dollars for the current fiscal year.

If the budget is to be used for the next rite, the ritual would have to be scaled back in a major way.

It is very rare for a member of the Imperial family to express an opinion different from what is determined by the government.

News source: NHK
Feb 16
Reservations for travel overseas are surging for this year's 10-day Golden Week period, during which the Imperial succession is set to take place, according to a JTB Corp. official. (Japan Times)
Feb 15
The Japanese government has mapped out a bill to officially recognize the Ainu ethnic minority as an indigenous people of Japan. (NHK)
Feb 15
Bullet train ticket machines have stopped working in many parts of Japan. (NHK)
Feb 13
Around the world, people use chocolate treats to express sweet nothings on Valentine's Day. (BBC)
Feb 13
As spring approaches in Japan, the country's weather forecasters face one of their biggest missions of the year: predicting exactly when the famed cherry blossoms will bloom. (straitstimes.com)
Feb 13
A new outbreak of swine fever has been confirmed on a pig farm in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan. It is the third farm in the prefecture to be hit by the highly contagious disease. (NHK)
Feb 12
Convenience store operator Family Mart Co. on Monday announced the dismissal of a male employee after the emergence of a video showing him licking items, the latest of several similar incidents involving a food-related company in the last week, reports TV Asahi (Feb. 12). (tokyoreporter.com)
Feb 12
A man in custody in connection with the death of a female university student whose body was found buried in a field in Kamisu City last month has also been accused in her murder, police said over the weekend, reports the Asahi Shimbun (tokyoreporter.com)
Feb 10
The number of influenza patients per medical institution in Japan in the week through Feb. 3 dropped from the previous week in all of the nation’s 47 prefectures, the health ministry announced. (Japan Times)
Feb 09
People in Sapporo shivered through frigid conditions on Friday as the city recorded a daytime high of minus 10.1 degrees Celsius, making it the first time in 40 years that the mercury has failed to reach minus 10. (NHK)