Extensive record on Emperor Hirohito coming

KYODO

The Imperial Household Agency is scheduled to finish compiling an official record of the life of Emperor Hirohito in late March for submission to Emperor Akihito as soon as the following month, an official said.

The agency intends to release the entire record of the life of the Emperor known posthumously as Showa, who died in 1989 at age 87, if a request for information disclosure is filed, according to Grand Steward Noriyuki Kazaoka, who made the plan public at a news conference Thursday.

Publication is also planned with a publisher to be selected through bidding in fiscal 2014. It is expected to take several years for of all the volumes to be issued. An abridged version is also planned.

The attention of the public and researchers will likely focus on whether there will be anything to shed light on the period leading up to the opening and the end of World War II, as well as the years immediately after the war.

The agency has gathered a wide range of materials, including those not made public before. In addition to the diaries of aides and records of physicians, the agency combed through unpublished private documents and interviewed people, including former chamberlains.

Kazaoka indicated Emperor Showa’s volumes will not be redacted, given criticism leveled at Emperor Taisho’s record — published from 2002 to 2011 in four phases — for containing redactions on the grounds of privacy.

The agency started compiling the record of Emperor Showa under a 16-year-plan starting in 1990. Due to the discovery of new historical materials and delays in work, a five-year-extension was granted in 1998 before the agency announced an additional three-year extension in 2010.