On Noriko’s Birthday, “Cost Saving” Explanation for Renovation of Akishino’s Residence, but People Are “Unconvinced” and Concerned. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

On Noriko’s Birthday, “Cost Saving” Explanation for Renovation of Akishino’s Residence, but People Are “Unconvinced” and Concerned.

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Princess Noriko Akishino entering the Imperial Palace to greet the Emperor and Empress on their birthday Photo: Kyodo News

On September 11, Princess Noriko Akishino’s 57th birthday, she gave written answers to questions from reporters.

The highlight of the reporters’ questions was about the renovation of Akishino’s residence. The reporters would present their questions in advance, but since this was a case that was attracting a lot of attention from the public, they couldn’t leave it out.

There was also a question about the recent situation of their eldest daughter, Mako Komuro, but Princess Noriko said, “I will refrain from giving an answer, as she has her own wishes.

In the meantime, questions about the renovation of Akishino’s residence were raised about how and when the decision was made to have only Kako, the second daughter, live in the place where the family had been temporarily residing (the current annex) after the renovation was completed, the reason why it was not disclosed at first, the cost of the renovation of the palace residence, and the history of the explanation. The question was how she was responding to the various comments from the public.

Noriko’s response to these questions was a replica of the explanations given by the Imperial Household Agency up to this point.

On June 30, at a press conference held by the head of the Imperial Household Office in charge of the Akishino family, Grand Minister Kaji Ryuji, the head of the Imperial Household Office, had stated that Mako and Kako’s private quarters had not been set up in the new palace residence and that Kako was living in a separate room because of cost-cutting measures, and this explanation also emphasized this.

However, while many pointed out that Kaji’s explanation was inadequate, he did not give any details, such as how much cost reduction was achieved.

According to Noriko’s explanation, she hoped to keep the original design and not spend too much money on this project. However, many pointed out that it was unfortunate that there was no explanation of such a point, since the actual state of related construction work has recently come to light.

The Imperial Household Agency is said to be hoping to defuse the issue with this explanation and words on the occasion of Prince Akishino’s birthday, scheduled for November.

There are reports that as much as 5 billion yen of taxpayers’ money has been invested in the project, but they may want to appeal that there is no need to explain every step of the process and that it is not that big a deal. He also answered that his relationship with Princess Kako is good, but few people in the Imperial Household Agency seem to believe that.

(Ibid.) Will this explanation really win the support of public opinion?

It is believed that many members of the public may not be convinced by this explanation. I think the Imperial Household Agency is aware of this. Still, some people have pointed out that it may not be good for the Akishino family to continue with the matter as it is.

Noriko is the future empress and mother of the nation. She could have been a little more approachable to the public, or there are even harsh suggestions that her future may be in jeopardy.

Explanations that satisfy the public” is a phrase that was also used when Mako married Kei Komuro. ……

  • PHOTO Kyodo News

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