Former Empress Michiko Photo: AP pool

Former Empress Michiko has early stage breast cancer

By Mari Yamaguchi

Former Japanese Empress Michiko has breast cancer and will have an operation, palace officials said Friday.

The Imperial Household Agency said doctors found Michiko had early-stage breast cancer in a regular health check in July. A lump was found in her left breast's mammary gland during an echography exam, the agency said.

Michiko, 84, received the title of empress emerita after her husband, Akihito, abdicated on April 30. Their son Naruhito ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1.

Doctors also found in June that Michiko has a minor heart problem that needs monitoring, though she has continued to make private outings. Michiko also had cataract operations in late June.

Doctors said Michiko has lost weight in recent months, presumably because she was busy preparing for and attending events related to Akihito's abdication, palace officials said. They said she needs to regain her stamina before having an operation, which is expected to take place sometime in September.

Michiko is to travel to Karuizawa in central Japan, where she and Akihito first met at a tennis match, in late August, and to the hot springs resort of Kusatsu as part of their annual vacation plans.

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Best wishes to her on a speed recovery.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

That's sad to hear. I hope she will be ok.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Whatever happened to privacy? Why do you have to tell hers or anyone's intimate medical information?

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Poor woman. I wish they would have let them abdicate sooner. She seems to have a lot of things coming at her at once. Hoping for a speedy recovery.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Whatever happened to privacy? Why do you have to tell hers or anyone's intimate medical information?

Relax. It was most likely her own decision to release it.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Hope she recovers soon and has no more issues after the medical procedure

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Terrible news, and awful luck after just retiring. I hope and pray Empress Emirita Michiko makes a full recovery. She will have full support of public thats for sure.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Japan needs to invest more in research and development in finding treatments and cures.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

All the very best and a very speedy recovery to the Empress.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I have seen this so many times, health problems proliferating after retirement. It seems one should retire as early as possible, at least in her case it would have been possible, but for most it is not. But with luck and good care she at least should continue to be well, for some time anyway.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

GOD BLESS EMPRESS EMERITA MICHIKO! Regarding statements about the Empress Emerita Michiko's privacy, I am sure the Empress Emerita wanted the public to know, as an example to others to get checked.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

BEST WISHES MICHIKO!, You will prevail!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Terrible news. My heart breaks for this news : (

-2 ( +0 / -2 )


sensei258 :Whatever happened to privacy? Why do you have to tell hers or anyone's intimate medical information?



Thankfully it's early stage and hopefully very treatable.

The (ex) Empress Michiko retains unsurpassable dignity.


1 ( +2 / -1 )

I hope she can get the treatment she deserves in Japan. I personally witnessed someone who had cancer, who was told they had something else to protect them from the shock of it, was left untreated for a year, until bones were breaking, then it was count down. At least they told her and I hope she is getting treated with the best technology available. I dont want to get cancer in this place.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

she looks quite ill, I recognized this long before this article.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )


Japan needs to invest more in research and development in finding treatments and cures...

Hope she gets better lucky they found it in the early stages.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Whats the treatment in Japan for breast cancer patient?

Is it different than in UK and US?

Will herbal from China, India and some parts of Africa will cure in full recovery?

Nobody knows.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Treatment for breast cancer is exceptionally good in Japan. I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer ten years ago, and have had first class treatment which is also affordable. For the past six years, I have had stage 4 metastatic cancer on my lung, but thanks to the care I am receiving, I am doing very well. I don't think my prognosis would be so good in, say, the UK.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

BackpackingNepal, haven’t seen any evidence to suggest the cancer survival rates in China, India and Africa are better than Japans. We do know that research based cancer treatments are improving survival rates all the time.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

the treatment for many advanced or serious ailments in Japan is not so advanced

-7 ( +0 / -7 )


I suppose that is why the Japanese have the longest lifespan in the world

3 ( +4 / -1 )

That has to do with eating portions. Cancer is big killer here. Just a visual tells me she is not well.

Obesity is the killer in the West. Japanese eat crap also, just allot less of it. I think some of it is genetic also

The Japanese I know, and myself included, do not live ideal life styles. commutes to work and daily stress take a heavy toil. I never bought into the "longest lifespan" even though it may be somewhat true. Most Japanese I know are dead around 60 - 65. They chain smoke and drink ever day, and have difficulty releasing their stress due to emotional or mental issues. If you sample most salarymen, I think the stat would reflect a different number.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

That has to do with eating portions

Breast cancer is very diet and lifestyle related but it has more to do with when you eat (fasting) than calorie restriction, actually.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

TheLongTermer, “If you sample most salarymen, I think the stat would reflect a different number.”

Longevity statistics are for the population as a whole. If you only survey a certain portion of the population you’ll get the longevity rate for only those people, not the general population. If you only count the ones who die, of course you’ll get a high death rate.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I am most sorry, she is truly a nice person, who loves harp music and very kind.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So even Japanese Royals get it !... this announcement in itself, should "hopefully" make it more of a "norm" thing for Women in Japan to do the right thing, and be checked regularly throughout their life - and it should be factored into a paid medical leave day at the predetermined period (if this is not already being done).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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