Death of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Over 100,000 people from across the country gathered in the Grand Palace square in Bangkok on October 23 to mourn the death of King Bhumibol and sing songs of praise.

The JILAF Thailand Office mourns the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, offers its sincerest condolences, and reports as follows. The JILAF Thailand Office has also sent a letter of condolence addressed to the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare of the Thai Ministry of Labour.

1. His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away at Siriraj Hospital at 15:52 on October 13 at the age of 88. He was the longest-serving active head of state in the world, having been monarch for 70 years and 4 months. He ascended to the throne as Rama IX in 1946, and his coronation ceremony took place in 1950. He married Queen Sirikit in 1950, and they had one son and three daughters: Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, Princess Ubolratana, Princess Sirindhorn, and Princess Chulabhorn.

2. King Bhumibol implemented more than 3,000 royal projects throughout the whole of Thailand, especially in poor districts in the provinces. He was deeply respected by the Thai people and dearly called the father of their nation.

3. King Bhumibol visited Japan with Queen Sirikit as state guests in 1963, and the Japanese Emperor and Empress visited Thailand in 1991 in the Emperor’s first trip to a foreign country after his enthronement. The longstanding exchange between the Japanese imperial family and the Thai royal family has been a symbol of the friendly ties between Japan and Thailand.

4. On October 15 it was confirmed that Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn (64) will succeed to the throne. The coronation is expected to take place after the funeral of King Bhumibol. Although it is uncertain when the funeral will end, it is likely to take one year. The succession will take place at an appropriate but as yet uncertain time. Until then, Prem Tinsulanonda (96), president of the Privy Council, former prime minister, and former commander in chief of the Royal Thai Army, will perform official duties as provisional regent.

5. The Thai government has instructed government offices, state-run enterprises, government-related facilities, and educational facilities to fly flags at half-mast for 30 days from October 14 and for public employees, state-run enterprise workers, and government staff to observe one year of mourning from October 14. Ordinary citizens can make their own decisions, but the government has asked people to refrain from holding amusement and entertainment events for 30 days. However, the prime minister has not placed any restrictions on economic activity, saying that the occasion must not exert an adverse impact on investment and tourism. At the present point in time there has not been a significant impact on economic activity, but future trends will need to be watched carefully.

(Extracts from the Nikkei, October 13; Newsclip, October 13; Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, October 13; NHK, October 16; Global News Asia, October 24; Reuters News Agency, October 31; etc.)

It has been reported that preparations are going ahead for the succession of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn to take place on December 1 (Reuters, November 1) and continued warnings about the possibility of explosions in Bangkok (Japanese Embassy in Thailand, November 2). The JILAF Thailand Office will continue its efforts to gather information.