January 15, 2016
Imperial Household Agency
On January 14, His Majesty the Emperor noticed a large advertisement for the weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun in the morning newspaper. It included the headlines, “Empress Michiko ‘Summons’ and Scolds Crown Princess Masako on the Evening of December 23, the Emperor’s Birthday! Imperial Family Exclusive: ‘Appearing in Public with the Crown Prince Is the Best Way Forward, the Culture Here Is Different from That of the Owada Family’ (Empress Michiko) ‘I Will Etch It into My Heart’ (Crown Princess Masako)” His Majesty commented to the Grand Chamberlain that, while there is no need to pay attention to each and every ad like this, as this conversation supposedly took place on His birthday, which He found to be inconceivable, He asked the Grand Chamberlain what the article was about. When the Grand Chamberlain gave a brief explanation, His Majesty was extremely surprised. He noted that on the evening in question, in which Their Majesties invited Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Princess, Prince and Princess Akishino, and Mr. and Mrs. Kuroda to the Imperial Residence for a celebratory dinner, Her Majesty was with Him the entire time as They enjoyed conversation in the living room following the dinner. His Majesty said that it simply would not have been possible in such a situation for Her Majesty and Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess to move to another room and talk privately after dinner, as everyone present that evening must know. On the morning of the same day, a concerned Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency contacted the Board of the Crown Prince’s Household and received a similar explanation from His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince. On January 15 His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino, who had the opportunity to meet with the Grand Steward, likewise said that Her Majesty was a part of the conversation the entire evening. He also added that Their Majesties saw the departing guests off at the entrance hall and, as a matter of course, Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Princess left first and everyone else saw them off.
According to the article, Her Majesty moved to a separate room with Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess after dinner and had a private conversation. In fact, Her Majesty remained seated in the living room the entire time after dinner as She spent the evening with everyone else. Under the circumstances, it would not have been possible for Her Majesty to call Her Imperial Highness alone to another room and reprove her, leaving the company of His Majesty and the evening’s guests, especially on the auspicious occasion of His Majesty’s birthday.
Her Majesty the Empress has always shown concern for Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess. Until now Her Majesty has maintained Her silence even with regard to many articles that could invite misunderstanding about Herself. However, as the article in question contains specific content expressed in the form of Her Majesty’s words, the Imperial Household Agency thought the article was highly misleading and has decided to disclose the facts of the evening here.