Makoto Watanabe, Ex-Grand Chamberlain for Former Emperor, Dies at 85
Tokyo, Feb. 8 (Jiji Press)--Makoto Watanabe, who served as grand chamberlain to former Japanese Emperor Akihito for more than a decade from 1996, died of aspiration pneumonia Tuesday morning. He was 85.
After entering the Foreign Ministry in 1959, Watanabe served in such posts as ambassador to Jordan, director-general of the ministry's Middle Eastern and African Affairs Bureau, and chief of protocol at the ministry.
He became grand master of the ceremonies at the Imperial Household Agency in 1995 and then served as grand chamberlain to the Emperor for 10 and a half years until 2007.
Among other duties as grand chamberlain, Watanabe, in June 2005, about 60 years after the end of World War II, accompanied Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, now holding the titles of Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita, respectively, on their visit to the U.S. territory of Saipan in the Pacific.
Watanabe also served as an adviser to the agency between 2012 and 2020. Emperor Emeritus Akihito, the father of current Emperor Naruhito, abdicated the throne at the end of April 2019.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]