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100 YEARS AGO
Thursday, March 3, 1921

Japan’s heir sails today on what is epoch marking trip

In honor of the event, great preparations have been made both to give His Imperial Highness the greatest possible ovation by way of bon voyage and to ensure his perfect safety. His Imperial Highness, Prince Hirohito, the future Ruler of Japan, leaves his native shores today on what will be not only his first trip abroad but the first trip ever taken by any member of the Reigning House of Japan since the Empress Jingo crossed the channel in her invasion of Formosa.

This morning, the Rising Sun banner will float before every doorway in Japan and over all the main buildings, while thousands upon thousand of his people will line the route from his residence to the railway station. Imperial Lancers will form his escort and ten thousand troops and three thousand police will guard his pathway through the city.

1921 [click to enlarge] | THE JAPAN TIMES
1921 | THE JAPAN TIMES

Imperial messengers, members of the Imperial Family, diplomats, Court officials and other dignitaries of State, Army and Navy, will throng the decorated station platform, where a special train will be awaiting His Highness. The Imperial Guards will be detailed for duty at the station.

No trains will be run on the Tokyo-Yokohama line for some time before the Imperial train has made the trip, while the miles of railway will be heavily guarded, with “banzaiing” thousands more at every station. The train will leave Tokyo at 9:35 in the morning, at which hour an Imperial salute will be fired from guns in Hibiya Park.

Preparations for the reception and the farewell to the Crown Prince in Yokohama have been elaborately arranged. His special train will go direct to the customs pier, arriving there at 10:30 a.m. to be greeted by the national anthem, played by a naval band. Alighting from the train and receiving the salute of officials and guard of honor, His Highness will at once board a vedette for the Katori. The Imperial Ship will weigh anchor at 11:30 a.m. and leave the port, followed by the Kashima, and again the roar of Imperial salutes will be heard, fired by warships in the port. All warships and steamers in the port will be fully dressed for the occasion.


75 YEARS AGO
Friday, March 8, 1946

Draft Constitution vests sovereignty in peoples’ hands

In one of the most revolutionary and history-making steps ever planned and executed by a Japanese Government, its new document sharply curtailed the power of the Emperor and vested the governmental authority within the hands of the people. A new draft Constitution of Japan which places the sovereignty of the nation squarely in the hands of the people and which renounces war as a sovereign right of the nation was announced by the government at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Foremost of the revisions in the full text containing 11 chapters and 95 articles is the provision which declared that “the Emperor shall be the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people, deriving his position from the sovereign will of the people.” It left the throne without governmental authority.

The other revolutionary provision is that which renounces “war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force” in settling disputes with other nations.

It forbids Japan “the maintenance of land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential,” and declared that “the right to belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”

The new revision draft climaxed intensive preparations which were begun by State Minister Dr. Joji Matsumoto last October and it was announced after a series of emergency Cabinet meetings. It was the result of the closest consultations with SCAP officials and it will now be submitted to the next Diet session for approval.

1946 | THE JAPAN TIMES
1946 | THE JAPAN TIMES

The new draft besides divorcing governmental powers from the Emperor and limiting his state functions to such acts as proclaiming elections and convoking the Diet, provides for the dynastic continuance of the Throne which shall be succeeded to in accordance with the Imperial House Law.

While transferring the sovereignty to the people, the Constitution also makes the Diet “the highest organ of state power” and provides it “shall be the sole law-making authority of the state.”

The present two-house government is retained, but the current House of Peers changed to “House of Councillors.” Members of both houses shall be elected.

Secret meetings in both chambers are abolished and the Constitution provides for publication of the record of proceedings.

Executive power is vested in the Cabinet under a Prime Minister designated by the Diet and appointed by the Emperor. A non-confidence vote by the Diet will force a Cabinet resignation en-masse.

The people are provided with revolutionary freedoms in Chapter 3 “Rights and Duties of the People” which guarantees that “the people shall not be prevented from enjoying any of the fundamental rights.”


50 YEARS AGO

Wednesday, March 3, 1971

Many young men these days marrying girls of same age

An increasing number of young men in Tokyo are choosing women of their own age as their marriage partners, a survey conducted recently and released Tuesday by the Marriage Research Center showed.

The survey covered a total of 1,248 couples who are betrothed and are scheduled to marry in the first half of this year.

It showed that 14.6 percent of the couples are of the same age to top, for the first time, the list showing age disparity in the case of love matches. So far, the most prevailing pattern in love matches was for the bride to be two years younger than the bridegroom, according to the research center.

Love matches accounted for an overwhelming 85.6 per cent while the remainder found the partners through the good offices of go-betweens.

1971 | THE JAPAN TIMES
1971 | THE JAPAN TIMES

The average age of the marrying couples was 26 for men and 23 for women. The tendency is that both men and women who fall in love marry two years earlier than those who depend on match makers.

Officials of the research center believe the coeducation system introduced after the war was the reason for the prevalence of couples of the same age.

According to the survey, 74.5 per cent of the couples intend to hold their wedding ceremonies Shinto-style and about 10 per cent at churches.

Most couples covered in the survey said they would invite about 40 relatives and friends to their wedding ceremony and hold receptions costing about ¥5,000 per guest.

In the case of about 37 per cent, both partners wanted to wear Japanese kimono at the ceremony, the survey said.

One-third of them said they would get married on a Sunday, while the next largest group wanted to choose “daian” (lucky days).


25 YEARS AGO
Friday, March 15, 1996

Drug makers apologize for HIV contamination

All five pharmaceutical firms accused of distributing HIV-contaminated blood products apologized Thursday for their actions and agreed to accept a court-mediated compromise in a nearly 7-year-old legal battle with infected hemophiliacs.

Their acceptance means that lawsuits filed by hemophiliacs against the drug makers and the state are likely to be settled by the court proposed deadline of March 29.

The government will officially announce its acceptance of the compromise today after the Cabinet approves the position in the morning, health minister Naoto Kan said following a meeting with Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto.

The compromise, drawn up by the Tokyo and Osaka district courts, calls on the drug makers, along with the government, to pay ¥45 million in compensation to each of the plaintiffs and ¥150,000 in monthly payments to each claimant who develops AIDS.

The two courts recommended that the government shoulder 40 percent of the financial burden, and that the drug makers divide up the rest in accordance with the share they held in the domestic market for blood clotting agents in 1983.

The five firms are Green Cross Corp., Bayer Yakuhin Ltd. and Nippon Zoki Pharmaceutical Co., all of Osaka; Baxter Ltd. of Tokyo; and Chemo Sero Therapeutic Research Institute of Kumamoto.

The plaintiffs, 218 in Tokyo and 183 in Osaka, are also expected to accept the compromise, although their formal decision will come after they holding separate meetings next Wednesday in the two cities.

The pharmaceutical companies’ acceptance of the compromise came one after another Thursday afternoon when plaintiffs, together with hundreds of their supporters, flocked to each of the firms’ headquarters in Tokyo, Osaka and Kumamoto.

The visitors demanded that the defendants admit their responsibility for spreading the infection among hemophiliacs and offer heartfelt apologies to the victims.

The supporters organized the coordinated action after observing the drug makers’ unwillingness to accept the courts’ recommendations at hearings even after the government officially admitted on Feb. 16 its legal responsibility for failing to prevent the infection from spreading.

1996 | THE JAPAN TIMES
1996 | THE JAPAN TIMES

After the action by the plaintiffs, executives of all the firms except Nippon Zoki directly offered their first-ever apologies to the victims.

In Osaka, about 1,800 supporters and a group of plaintiffs rallied outside Bayer’s headquarters, carrying banners and memorial quilts.

“I have expressed a deeply felt apology to hemophiliac patients and their family members, who are innocent victims of the terrible tragedy,” Wolfgang Plischke, president of the Japanese subsidiary of the German conglomerate, told plaintiffs who visited the firm in Miyahara, Yodogawa Ward.

Takehiko Kawano, president of Green Cross in Imabashi, Chuo Ward, admitted before a group of plaintiffs the firm’s responsibility for spreading the infection among hemophiliacs. He offered an apology and promised to accept the compromise.

“We are really sorry for the disaster,” Kawano said. “We will make our utmost efforts not only to disclose the whole story of the drug-induced disaster but to prevent another drug-related disaster from occurring.”

Green Cross held the largest share of the domestic market for unheated blood products in the early and mid 1980s at about 50 percent.

A Nippon Zoki executive said the firm apologizes to the victims and will make sincere efforts toward the settlement. Chemo Sero Therapeutic Research Institute in Kumamoto offered a similar apology to about 30 plaintiffs who visited the firm. Chemo Sero officials promised to do their best to bring about an early conclusion of the suits.

In Tokyo, 55 plaintiffs entered Baxter’s headquarters in Bancho, Chiyoda Ward, while about 500 supporters waited outside the building.

During a meeting with the victims, Bob Hurley, president of Baxter, a subsidiary of the U.S.-based pharmaceutical giant Baxter World Trade Corp., offered a “sincere and deep apology” to the plaintiffs.

“Baxter wishes to extend its heart-felt apology to those people and families who were the innocent victims of this insidious disease,” he said.

However, Hurley did not directly answer when a reporter later asked whether the apology meant that the firm was admitting its legal responsibility for the disaster.

An attorney representing the firm said that it could not comment now because the issue is being left to the Tokyo and Osaka district courts.

Citing the sensitive nature of the matter, the benches requested, when they issued the second compromise on March 7, that the plaintiffs leave it up to the courts to decide when and how the defendants should recognize their responsibility for the disaster.

Compiled by Tadasu Takahashi. In this feature, we delve into The Japan Times’ 125-year archive to present a selection of stories from the past. The Japan Times’ archive is now available in digital format. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.

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