Our Man can't complete this sentence: Emperor (insert name here) deserves our respect because... How about a multiple choice answer?
a) He lives in a big palace.
b) His dad had the job before him.
c) He is a Constitutional Monarch (that means we are not allowed to guillotine him)
d) He looks and moves like a thunderbird puppet.
The correct answer's d), isn't it? The current incumbent (Thunderbird 2, let's call him) is Akihito, son of World War II emperor Hirohito (Thunderbird 1). Now, Thunderbird 2 is worried because Thunderbird 3, Prince what's-his-name-with-a-comedy-mustache-married-to-a-recluse, has only one son, and only sons can become emperors, and the Dad wants two boys (is he splitting heirs?). Or something. As more astute readers may be able to tell, Our Man is struggling to retain interest, but suffice to say the goings on at the Imperial Palace (which incidentally, if you run around it twice makes a lovely 10k-run through the centre of Tokyo) are carefully and respectfully documented by the press here. But won't be by Our Man. He's with the French when it comes to monarchy. Thunderbirds are go! But the constitutional monarchy is better than having a president, like say President Aso. True, but since the position is allegedly purely ceremonial, why not put a completely non-political person in there like that nice chap from SMAP or that ice skating celeb Mao-chan? That would make those black-van-driving ranters a lot less sinister.
OK, OK, for a proper look at the constitutional role of the emperor and what-not, click here.