Tuesday, 21 May 2019

New monarchs, new era?

Updated at Friday, 03 May 2019, 16:12
The Hanoitimes - The big question is whether the "new monarchs" automatically lead to a "new era" in Japan and Thailand?
The enthronement of new monarchs in Japan and Thailand was widely considered the beginning of a new era in these two countries. It took place in Japan on April 30 and will be soon carried out in Thailand in the coming days. The emperor of Japan Akihito abdicated while the king of Thailand died two years ago, both paving the way for their offspring to ascend to throne.
Japan's new emperor Naruhito and Thailand's new king Maha Vajiralongkorn.
Japan's new emperor Naruhito and Thailand's new king Maha Vajiralongkorn.
The big question is whether the "new monarchs" automatically lead to a "new era" in Japan and Thailand?

It is no doubt that the royal families in Japan and Thailand have been enjoying respect and confidence from subjects who are very powerful despite of not having any executive powers. Even when the throne was left vacant in Thailand or the abdication in Japan was announced, no one has raised any question of their existence but rather sees them as the point of reference and stabilizing element in any circumstances. They united their people and countries. They were the institutions everyone in their countries need in times of crises. They prevented Thailand and Japan from being politically and socially radicalized. They both left legacies which set high ruling standards for their successors.

The new monarchs in Thailand and Japan certainly need time, maybe long time, to fill the gap between them now and their predecessors, to meet these standards and to be appreciated heirs. The expectations of the people in their kingdoms are very high.

In Thailand, it is hard, very hard, to foresee when political and social security and stability would be granted despite the first general election since the military coup in 2014 was held in late March. Both the politic and social class and the society are still divided and polarized, national consensus still far away and the old power games between the military and civil society still continue.

In Japan, many lasting domestically political and social problems still need to be urgently solved, necessary economic as well as institutional reforms consequently have to be carried out and the rise of nationalist and ultra-rightist movements to be halted.

The new monarchs in Japan and Thailand therefore have no other choice but to continue the directions of their predecessors, at least for a certain period of time. That is why in these two countries there are new rulers but not yet new eras.
Ambassador Tran Duc Mau
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