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His Imperial Majesty the Emperor and Water Issues

投稿日:2019年5月3日 更新日:

His Imperial Majesty Emperor Naruhito, who ascended the throne on May 1, is considerably well known as an expert on water issues. When Emperor Naruhito was His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince, he served as Honorary President of ‘The Third World Water Forum’ which was held in Kyoto in 2003, and later as Honorary President of ‘The UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation’ during 2007-2015.

It is also known that Emperor Naruhito’s ‘Honorary President’ as the then Crown Prince mentioned above was not nominal. The Emperor regards the study on water issues as his life work, and has engaged in in-depth studies of water issues such as irrigation and flood control in Japan as well as various water issues in the world from natural and historical viewpoints. Based on these studies, the Emperor has made a keynote speech at many international conferences. The Emperor’s speech stresses the need of taking countermeasures to prevent disasters caused by torrential rains and huge tsunami (tidal waves), and warns that although the lack of water becomes the direct cause of poverty, education, sanitation and environment, 600 million people do not have access to safe water.

I attended, together with Mr. Toshihiro Nikai, Secretary-General of Liberal Democratic Party, the Third UN Special Thematic Session on Water and Disasters which was held at the UN Headquarters on July 20, 2017. It was right after Asakura City (my electoral district), Fukuoka Prefecture, was damaged by a record high rain which people in the city had never experienced in the past. A 30-minute keynote lecture through video by the then Crown Prince Naruhito was delivered. It was really wonderful. The contents of his lecture covered various issues on water and disasters in the world, and each issue was explained plainly and precisely. It was also explained academically. In addition, I was impressed by the then Crown Prince’s excellent English expressions and pronunciation. When the lecture finished, many foreign countries’ representatives said to me, “It was splendid.” and “The Crown Prince will be excellent Emperor of Japan in the future.” I expressed my gratitude to them for their praising words, and was filled with delight.

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