Funeral Won't Close U.S. Offices of Most Japan Firms

Times Staff Writer

Most Japanese businesses in the United States will be open for business as usual Friday and are not expecting major interruptions in their work, although businesses and governmental agencies in Japan will be closed in observance of the funeral of Emperor Hirohito.

Friday has been declared an official holiday in Japan, and the stock market will also be closed.

Nomura Securities in New York, like several other U.S.-based Japanese companies contacted, said it was not planning to close or have special observances. However, some employees will be allowed to leave early today to watch the funeral rites on television "or to mourn privately," said spokesman Paul Johnson.

U.S.-based Japanese companies, including Nissan Motors, Honda, Nissen Foods and Nikkei Securities, said they were not expecting to have difficulty communicating with officials in Japan. Most said procedures are in place for communications that are essential.

Observance Tonight in L.A.

When the public funeral procession gets under way at 9:35 Friday morning in Tokyo, it will be afternoon and evening today in the continental United States. The procession will be preceded by a private funeral attended by the emperor's family at the Imperial Palace. Just prior to the beginning of the state funeral at noon, Japanese government officials around the world will observe a moment of silence, said Sao Tome, a spokesman for Hiromoto Seki, Japan's consul general in Los Angeles.

"We are inviting all Japanese citizens to join us," Tome said. The observance will occur at 7 tonight in Los Angeles, simultaneous with events in Japan.

The consul's office and other Japanese government offices in the United States will be officially closed Friday. However, sections dealing with the public on passports and visas will be open from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Friday.

The major period of mourning occurred just after the emperor's death on Jan. 6. Japanese businesses in Japan and the United States did not experience any major interruptions in their work, although many firms did not participate in social engagements.

All Nippon Airways canceled three days of U.S. advertising and in-flight movies for a week as well as the customary "welcome drink" for first-class and business customers. And the chief steward exchanged the usual orange uniform for the more subdued blue outfit worn by the rest of the staff.

ANA's U.S. operations aren't planning special observances for the funeral, a spokesman said.

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