Famous Birthdays, History Today — February 23, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Famous Birthdays Today: 1960 – Naruhito, crown prince of Japan.

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Crown Prince Naruhito (born 23 February 1960) is the eldest son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, which makes him the heir apparent to the Chrysanthemum Throne of Japan.
Titled Prince Hiro, he was invested as the Crown Prince on 23 February 1991, following the death of his grandfather, Emperor Shōwa on 7 January 1989.
He received his bachelor’s and his master’s degrees in history from Gakushuin University in 1982 and 1988, respectively. From 1983 until 1985 he studied in England at Merton College, Oxford University.
Prince Naruhito plays the viola and enjoys jogging, hiking, and mountaineering in his spare time. He has written several papers and a memoir of his Oxford days, The Thames and I: A Memoir of Two Years at Oxford.
The Prince pursued and eventually proposed (reportedly twice) to the then 29-year-old Masako Owada, a diplomat in the Japanese Foreign Ministry working under her father Hisashi Owada who is currently a judge on the International Court of Justice, former vice minister for foreign affairs and former Japanese ambassador to the United Nations. The Imperial Palace announced their engagement on 19 January 1993.
On 9 June 1993, The Crown Prince of Japan and Masako Owada were married at the Imperial Shinto Hall in Tokyo before 800 invited guests and an estimated media audience of 500 million people around the world. Many of Europe’s crowned heads attended. So, too, did most of Europe’s elected heads of state. The couple make their home at the Tōgū Palace, on the Akasaka Estate in Minato, Tokyo.
Aiko’s birth, which occurred more than eight years after their marriage, sparked lively debate in Japan about whether The Imperial Household Law of 1947 should be changed from that of agnatic primogeniture to absolute primogeniture, which would allow a woman to ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne.
A government-appointed panel of experts submitted a report on 25 October 2005, recommending that the Imperial succession law be amended to permit absolute primogeniture. On 20 January 2006, then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi used part of his annual keynote speech to address the controversy when he pledged to submit a bill to the Diet letting women ascend to the throne in order that the imperial throne be continued into the future in a stable manner. Koizumi did not announce a timing for the legislation to be introduced nor did he provide details about the content but he did note that it would be in line with the conclusions of the 2005 government panel.
In January 2007, then Prime Minister Shinzō Abe announced that he would drop the proposal to alter the Imperial Household Law. Therefore, it seems increasingly unlikely that the succession laws will be changed to allow Princess Aiko to become reigning Empress. Although Imperial chronologies include eight reigning empresses in the course of Japanese history, their successors were always selected from amongst the members of the paternal Imperial bloodline, which is why some conservative scholars argue that the women’s reigns were temporary and that male-only succession tradition should be maintained in the 21st century.
Masako controversy:
On 11 July 2008, Naruhito sought public understanding for his wife, who was suffering from a stress-induced form of depression, diagnosed as an adjustment disorder. “I would like [the public] to understand that Masako is continuing to make her utmost efforts with the help of those around her. Please continue to watch over her kindly and over the long-term.” Pressures to produce a male heir, to conform with the ancient traditions and a 1947 imperial law, were perceived to be behind her illness.
Personal interests:
Naruhito is interested in water policy and water conservation. In March 2003, in his capacity as honorary president of the Third World Water Forum, he delivered a speech at the forum’s opening ceremony titled “Waterways Connecting Kyoto and Local Regions”. Visiting Mexico in March 2006, he gave the keynote address at the opening ceremony for the Fourth World Water Forum, “Edo and Water Transport.” And in December 2007, he gave a commemorative talk at the opening ceremony for the First Asia-Pacific Water Summit, “Humans and Water: From Japan to the Asia-Pacific Region.”
Official duties:
Crown Prince Naruhito is an honorary member of the World Commission on Water for the 21st century and patron of the Global Water Partnership, established by the World Bank, the United Nations, and the Swedish Agency of Development.
The prince was a patron of the Japanese Olympic Games Committee until 1998 when he was made a member of the International Olympic Committee. On behalf of the crown, the prince carries out representative duties in Japan and abroad. The prince is also a supporter of the world organization of the Scout Movement and in 2006 attended the 14th Nippon Jamboree, which is the Japanese national jamboree organized by the Boy Scout Association of Japan. The crown prince has also been an honorary vice-president of the Japanese Red Cross Society since 1994.
The crown prince was the honorary president of Expo 2005.
Source: Wikipedia, read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_Prince_Naruhito

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