Did Australia boycott Hirohito's funeral?

I heard once from an Aussie that there was so much animosity toward the Japanese among the MPs in Australia (many of whom had actively fought the emperor’s forces in dub-dub-two) that eventually no one was sent as an official representative to the funeral. I think the U.S. sent Quayle.

So, is this story true?

I doubt it. I think I recall us sending somebody. It wouldn’t have been the PM but I don’t think it was a nobody either considering their importance as our most important trading partner. Also, I doubt there would be any MPs left in parliament who fought the Japanese and the MPs who are there aren’t especially averse to them. Of course, there are always extremists; they just aren’t represntative of any especially hard feeling towards the Japs.

There are some older Australians who still dislike Japan because of the events of WWII, however relations between the two countries are generally friendly, and have been for decades.

This link seems to indicate there was no Prime Ministerial visit to Hirohito’s funeral, but I’m sure somebody senior was sent. The link also provides a useful overview of Japanese-Australian relations.

News reports from the time indicated that Australia sent a “high level” delegation to Hirohito’s funeral, but that the PM was specifically not included.

Canada and New Zealand were also very hesitant about sending anyone to the funeral. The Netherlands said they weren’t going to send anyone.

My question is: Why was Hirohito’s funeral six weeks after his death?

I think the US delegation included both President Bush and James Baker.


Have been unable to confirm, but the media reports of the time indicated that the Governor-General, Bill Hayden, was to lead the Australian representation. I think Bob Hawke was in Tasmania at the time, trying avoid further controversy, but still managed to get himself caught up in the question of whether flags should be flown at half mast.

I can’t attest to their feelings, but seeing as Hirohito died in only '89, there most definately would have been some MPs who were vets of Hirohito and Tojo’s war. President Bush (Sr.) himself had been a Wildcat pilot in the same. Bob Dole ran for president in '96, always holding the pen in his right hand that (sort of) disguises the fact that it’s crippled because of his service in II.

20-year olds in '45 would have been only 64 in '89: a nice ripe age to be a senior politician.

I seem to recall that it had something to do with Shinto embalming rituals.