Ripples from the controversy over Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping’s exceptional audience with the Emperor on Dec. 15 have not died down. Statements on the relationship between the Cabinet and the Emperor made by Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa raise serious concerns.

The controversy started because the timing of China’s request for the audience did not meet the conditions set by protocol. A request for an audience with the Emperor must be made at least one month in advance. Although China’s request failed to meet the deadline, the Hatoyama administration pressured the Imperial Household Agency to accept China’s request.

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