Japan’s Oxford-educated crown prince to bring global view to Chrysanthemum Throne

Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito, right, defied palace officials to marry Masako Owada, at left, a Harvard- and Oxford-educated diplomat. (Reuters)
Updated 08 December 2017

Japan’s Oxford-educated crown prince to bring global view to Chrysanthemum Throne

TOKYO: Japan’s Oxford-educated crown prince, Naruhito, looks set to bring a more global outlook to the ancient imperial institution while carrying on Emperor Akihito’s legacy of promoting peace and reconciliation with Asia when he ascends the throne in 2019.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet on Friday signed off on an April 30, 2019 date for the octogenarian Akihito’s retirement — the first abdication by a Japanese monarch in two centuries.
Akihito, who turns 84 on December 23, has spent much of his nearly three decades on the throne trying to heal the wounds of a war fought in his father Hirohito’s name and highlighting the needs of the vulnerable in society. He said in August 2016 that he feared age would make it hard to fulfill his duties.
“As an Oxford-educated scholar and well traveled crown prince, Naruhito can draw on a wealth of international experience in carrying out the duties his father pioneered,” said Jeffrey Kingston, director of Asian studies at Temple University Japan.
Naruhito, 57, is an advocate for environmental causes, and has taken part in international conferences on clean water.
“Certainly, on environmental issues, he’s very passionate,” said Shihoko Goto, a senior associate for Northeast Asia at the Washington-based Wilson Center.
“He is also very concerned about women’s rights ... the idea of empowering women and giving them a position of dignity that goes beyond their place in the traditional world.”
Naruhito defied palace officials to marry Masako Owada, a Harvard- and Oxford-educated diplomat who has suffered from stress-related illness brought on by the demands of palace life and pressure to bear a royal heir.
At one point, he shocked the public with his blunt defense of his wife from criticism and pressure, drawing a rebuke from his younger brother and sorrowful remarks from his father.
Masako’s daughter, 16-year-old Aiko, cannot inherit the males-only throne. A one-off law allowing Akihito to abdicate was enacted in June, but did not address the controversial issue of female succession — a matter that is becoming increasingly pressing as the royal family shrinks and ages.
Akihito has only one grandson, 11-year-old Prince Hisahito.
How Masako, 53, copes with the role of empress will be closely watched. “My hope is that ... she will be able to express herself and embrace some of the things she wants to do and be at the forefront of imperial diplomacy,” the Wilson Center’s Goto said.


Indian restaurant offers ‘COVID curry’ to scared customers

Updated 03 August 2020

Indian restaurant offers ‘COVID curry’ to scared customers

  • India has had 1.8 million cases, the third-highest in the world behind the United States and Brazil

JODPHUR, India: An Indian restaurant is hoping to win back customers afraid of eating out during the pandemic with a special “COVID Curry” and “Mask Naans.”
“This has been a really tough time for us and for our entire sector,” Yash Solanki, owner of the vegetarian Vedic eatery in the western city of Jodphur, said.
The fried vegetable balls have been shaped to look like the “crowned” coronavirus, while the accompanying breads look like surgical masks.
Solanki said that they had also added, and advertised, that their COVID curry had extra Indian herbs and spices that are good for people’s health.
“Even with recently relaxed curbs, the fear still dominates. People are still very reluctant to eat out,” Solanki said.
Almost 800 people are dying daily from coronavirus in the world’s second-most populous nation, with around 50,000 new infections reported every 24 hours.
The country has had 1.8 million cases, the third-highest in the world behind the United States and Brazil, and more than 38,000 deaths.