Imperial graves in the old Japanese capitals of Kyoto and Nara were vandalized today in the first overt opposition to sympathetic media coverage of 87-year-old Emperor Hirohito’s illness.
Left-wing radicals scattered horse manure outside a burial mound in Nara reputed to contain the remains of Emperor Jimmu, the legendary first ruler of Japan, police said.
In nearby Kyoto, another of Japan’s many former capital cities, police said a smoke bomb was exploded outside the tomb of Emperor Meiji, Hirohito’s grandfather.
In the same city, famous for its royal palaces, castles and temples, red paint was sprayed over an Imperial Household Agency billboard while in Tokyo and elsewhere there were several minor acts of vandalism which police said were anti-royalist.
The Assn. of Revolutionary Workers, a small but militant radical group, distributed leaflets on a Tokyo commuter rail line saying “Now is the time to get rid of the Imperial system.”
Hirohito remained in stable but critical condition after surviving the second crisis in his two-week fight against what is generally accepted to be cancer of the pancreas.
Imperial Household Agency officials have given few details of his illness beyond routine medical bulletins.