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Senbonzakura


Evangeline Anovilis
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As the 25th of March approached, and the Sakura zensen approached the capital, preparations were made in the Imperial Palace for the impending festivities. While most citizens celebrated with their families and friends in private, the Prime Minister did plan to appreciate the cherry blossoms also herself, for which several people had been invited, among them the Emperor of Tianxia. Especially this visit, which would be the first visit of the Emperor in his rule was deemed important to cement the friendship of the two neighbouring nations over sake, dango and other foodstuff and to show appreciation for culture and the more refined aspects of life. But over the coming days, the Prime Minister also had scheduled meetings with others, given that certain domestic affairs needed to be adressed.

 

Many Japanese looked forward to these days not only due to Hanami, but also because the scheduled meeting could also be the first public appearance of Prime Minister Akiyama in two weeks time, after she had mysteriously vanished and cancelled several other scheduled meetings. What exactly it was that had prevented these earlier events was not known, but many hoped that it'd finally be cleared on the 25th, for the Prime Minister's office had not cancelled the meeting and visible preparations were made around the palace, ranging from the cleaning and restoring of greenery after the winter months to an increase of police and palace guards, to prevent against crime and public disorder.

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The Imperial Plane made the short flight from Nanjing International Airport to Narita at a time of heightened tension.  There was hope of smoothing over the increasing tension in the Japanese Relationship in the last few months over activity by Japan around the globe, but this was now also tempered by the ongoing stand off with ASEAN in South East Asia and the unease at the Drakan assault on Madagascar, which took Drakan combat missions uncomfortably close to Tianxia's island territories in the Southern Indian Ocean.  

 

Yuan Shizi had now begun to define his foreign policy different from his father's articulating his own vision of what the Empire meant:

1) Muscular Moralism

2) Centralized Foreign Policy

3) Open and Free Trade

 

In a way this had yielded a Emperor, who both was more committed to his mother's idealism and liberal goals than his father's realism and technocracy, but was also more ruthless and restless in pursuing them.  How he would react to the rest of the world would remain seen.  

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The Emperor would be greeted at Narita airport by the Prime Minister, as well as the Nihon Konoe Shidan, the Japanese Guard Division. Flying both the Blue Sky, White Sun and a Wholly Red Earth flag, as well as the Nisshōki, to honour the high guest, the guard's salute was pretty much in line with the general foreign policy of the Japanese Empire from showing respect to the great Empire of Tianxia, while however also showing the sovereignity of the Japanese nation. A position that included not in minor part a more proactive foreign and security policy.

 

Akiyama Kagami, while not personally present at the meetings in Nanjing or Marscuria, naturally had not failed to read reports from the diplomats, which already gave her an idea of diplomatic developments. She already had met the Emperor of Tianxia once. Back then, the situation was a bit different, as the young Emperor seemed to only have just ascended and Akiyama was busy bringing the volatile forces of military and state security under control, after they had embarrassed Japan in the past. While Akiyama had remained as Prime Minister, the challenges to the nation changed and so did her policies.

 

Given the special occassion of the meeting, which officially was for Hanami, the traditional cherry blossom viewing, the Prime Minister was dressed in a crimson furisode, with white and red hydrangea patterns. As her stone grey eyes followed the taxiing aircraft, Akiyama went over the scenarios for the meeting in her head for a last time, her hands fiddling with an ornate fan, which she had more as an accessory to go with her traditional attire, than for the modest temperature of late March. But as the plane came to a halt and the Emperor finally arrived, she quickly had the fan vanish up her sleeve and with a friendly smile and polite bow, Akiyama Kagami greeted the young Emperor. "I welcome you to Japan, your Imperial Highness. Your visit honours our humble nation. Hopefully you had a comfortable journey and we shall do our utmost to make this a comfortable stay too." She then reproduced the fan from her sleeve and subtly gestured along the red carpet towards the terminal, so as to guide Yuan Shizi towards the vehicles prepared to take them to their destination.

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