March 2023 | Obituary - Pio d'Emilia

Another D'Emilia piece to camera.

The first time I really became aware of Pio was outside the Crown Prince’s residence just before a press conference. He was becoming very heated about how important it was for the foreign press to have fair and equal access to the event, including the audio feed that only the press club were using. Great consternation ensued among the retainers of the Imperial Household Agency. Anyway, he eventually sat down quietly next to me and the event began. After about five minutes I heard an unmistakable sound from my right … yes, Pio was snoring loudly and remained fast asleep for most of the press conference. 

After I became president of the FCCJ in 2020, Pio was, to say the least, unsparing with his advice and we had frequent video calls on WhatsApp. One night he called me and his opening gambit was: “I'm very pissed off.” I wondered which one of my constant transgressions had drawn his attention this time. It turned out he had fallen victim to an online scammer using my name and pretending to be in dire trouble. He had sent this person ¥50,000 in Amazon tokens. Several other people had received the same emails and not sent any money, but I think it was typical of Pio to want to help someone in difficulty straight away – absolutely no questions asked.

Isabel Reynolds has been reporting for Bloomberg in Tokyo since 2012. She has lived in Japan for more than 20 years and been a regular member of the FCCJ for most of that time