Birth of princess ‘a delight’ for the nation, Koizumi says

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi issued a statement Saturday congratulating the Crown Prince and Princess on the birth of their first child, describing it as a delightful event for the Japanese people.

“I offer my heartfelt congratulations, together with the public, over the birth of the Imperial Princess today,” he said in the statement.

“The birth of the princess is a symbol of the further prosperity of the Imperial family and it is the delight of the entire public to see this happy day,” the statement said. “I pray from the bottom of my heart for the health of the princess and the further prosperity of the Imperial family.”

Koizumi is to visit the Imperial Palace at around 10 a.m. today with the speaker of the House of Representatives, the president of the House of Councilors and the chief justice of the Supreme Court to offer their congratulations on the birth of the baby girl, government officials said.

Shortly after the news of the birth, two national flags were placed at the entrance of the Prime Minister’s Official Residence to mark the event.

Tamisuke Watanuki, speaker of the House of Representatives, said in a statement that the birth of the baby gives hope for the nation’s future and delight to the people in today’s turbulent social and economic situation.

Upper House President Hiroshi Inoue also said it is a “truly delightful event that symbolizes the bright future for our country.”

Leaders of political parties also extended their congratulations for the Imperial family.

Takenori Kanzaki, chief of New Komeito, expressed his hopes for the health of the new baby and the further prosperity of the Imperial family, while Takeshi Noda, president of the New Conservative Party, issued a similar statement. The two parties are partners of Koizumi’s Liberal Democratic Party in the ruling coalition.

Takako Doi, head of the opposition Social Democratic Party, expressed her congratulations on the birth of the “much-awaited child,” while Kazuo Shii, chairman of the Central Executive Committee of the Japanese Communist Party, released a one-line statement saying merely that the “birth of a new life is pleasant.”

Protest held in Tokyo

About 60 anti-imperialists demonstrated Saturday in Tokyo against nationwide celebrations over the birth of the first child of the Crown Prince and Princess.

Homare Kitano, 42, of the Han Tennosei Undo Renraku Kai urged fellow demonstrators to continue protests to the end at Miyashita Park in the Shibuya district.

“Today, many other children were born, but this baby will be praised as if she is the most blessed child,” Kitano said of the new princess.

Han Tennosei Undo Renraku Kai roughly means “liaison group movement against the Imperial system.”

Protesters chanted slogans such as “We won’t celebrate” and “No need for successor to Imperial family,” while wearing sashes with an “X” written over the kanji for celebration.