Emperor’s chief steward to retire

Kyodo

The chief of the Imperial Household Agency, Shingo Haketa, will be replaced by Noriyuki Kazaoka, the deputy head, on June 1, pending Cabinet approval, government sources said Monday.

Kazaoka, 65, will be promoted to the position of grand steward, responsible for the personal, ceremonial and official affairs of the Emperor and his family, while Haketa, 70, will retire.

Ichiro Kanazawa, 70, medical supervisor of the Imperial household, who led the Emperor’s heart bypass surgery in February, will also be replaced by Hirokazu Nagawa, 60, former vice director of the University of Tokyo Hospital.

Kazaoka has been the vice grand steward since 2005, after serving as vice transport minister. Haketa, former vice health and welfare minister, has been the head of the agency since April 2005 after serving as the deputy head for four years.