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Japanese politician breaks taboo by giving letter to Emperor about Fukishima fears


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Japanese politician breaks taboo by giving letter to Emperor about Fukishima fears

A Japanese politician has caused a stir after handing a letter about the health impact of the Fukishima nuclear disaster to the Emperor.

The Emperor has a symbolic role in Japan and it’s seen as taboo to try and draw him into politics.

Taro Yamamato, a former film star turned politician and anti-nuclear activist, gave the letter at the Emperor’s autumn garden party.

He says he wanted to draw attention to the plight of children affected.

“I handed over a letter to the Emperor because I wanted him to know my personal feelings about the current situation on the ground. In eastern Japan there are children coming down with many health problems and there are people who are working in radioactive conditions who are just being ignored – this is the reality. I just wanted to convey that to him,” Yamamato said.

There have been calls for Yamamato to resign.

Japan’s Culture Minister Hakubun Shimomura said: “If we allow such action without any repercussion, it will encourage others to hand the Emperor letters at various events,”

Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki said he believed it could lead to a breach of the constitution.

The Fukushima plant, north of Tokyo, has been leaking radioactivity since it was hit by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

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