Japans Akihito Pushed Imperial Boundaries To Reach Out To Asia

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TOKYO – When Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko stood, heads bowed, at a seaside cliff on Saipan 60 years after a bloody World War Two battle, their silent prayers conveyed a message many felt resonated louder than words.

On that June 2005 visit – one of many war-related trips during Akihito’s three-decade reign – the royal couple paid their respects at memorials not only for Japanese but also American and Korean war dead.

“I think the emperor felt heartfelt pain and mourning for those who died, and that we must not forget the tragedy of the war and should convey that to the generations who have not experienced it,” Shingo Haketa, former grand steward of the Imperial Household Agency, which manages the monarch’s affairs, told Reuters in an exclusive interview.




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