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Sunday, Apr. 9, 2006


Misunderstanding already exists


Regarding the March 29 letter "Princess Akishino's pregnancy" by Yoshio Okawara, writing on behalf of the Imperial Household Agency: Okawara indicated that he believes I was advancing an "argument" in my Feb. 19 Media Mix column about the announcement of Princess Akishino's pregnancy. I was not arguing anything. As I clearly pointed out, the conjecture that the IHA "deliberately confirmed the pregnancy . . . with unprecedented speed" was not mine. It could be found in almost every weekly magazine's coverage of the pregnancy.

As far as ignoring "the actual position and the official duties of the female members of the Imperial family," it was not my purpose to promote their work. That is the IHA's duty, and Okawara did a fine job in his letter of cataloging their accomplishments. My intention was to discuss the media's handling of the announcement in light of the debate about a possible female emperor. The Crown Princess and Princess Akishino's komu duties are commendable, but they have no bearing on the succession issue as far as I'm concerned.

I can assure Okawara that my column will not "lead to a terrible misunderstanding of the Imperial family." Given the secrecy surrounding what goes on in the palace and the media's resulting coverage, there seem to be plenty of misunderstandings already. However, there is one matter that I myself don't understand. Since when has it been considered impolite and "devoid of respect" to imply that a woman might find fulfillment in being a wife and a mother?

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer's own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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