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Emperor enters hospital to prepare for heart bypass surgery

29 Comments

Emperor Akihito went into hospital Friday, a day before he is due to have heart bypass surgery, imperial palace officials said, as members of the public signed books at the Imperial Palace to wish him well.

The 78-year-old monarch arrived at the University of Tokyo Hospital shortly after 10 a.m., accompanied by his wife Empress Michiko and bowed to doctors before going inside.

"His majesty arrived in the hospital for the operation," a spokeswoman for the Imperial Household Agency told AFP.

The operation, which was announced last Sunday after tests showed a narrowing of Akihito's arteries, is expected to take about five hours and will be performed by physicians from the University of Tokyo and private Juntendo University.

The emperor is likely to be discharged in about two weeks if he does well after the operation, Jiji Press reported, although the palace would not confirm this.

The operation will be performed "to maintain and to improve his majesty's daily life," a palace spokesman said.

During his operation and recuperation, Akihito's first son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will take over his duties such as attending public ceremonies and meeting state guests.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was among more than 300 people who visited the Imperial Palace to enter their names on books prepared for goodwill wishes.

"I hope he will recuperate as soon as possible," a man who visited the palace said on television footage.

On Thursday, the emperor met 107 elementary school principals at the palace and, referring to the March 11 earthquake-tsunami told them, "I hope you will make efforts in disaster prevention education without forgetting the disaster."

He then had dinner with Empress Michiko, his second son Prince Akishino and his wife Princess Kiko, local reports said.

The surgery comes amid increasing concerns about Akihito's health.

A catheter angiogram on Saturday showed that his arteries continued to narrow since an examination he underwent a year ago, the palace said in a statement.

Doctors have reached "a conclusion that a new action has to be taken" to stop the trend, it said.

In November Akihito, who ascended the throne in 1989 following the death of his father Hirohito, spent 19 days in hospital with mild pneumonia while he underwent surgery for prostate cancer in 2003.

His youngest son Prince Akishino has suggested there should be a discussion about setting a retirement age for the head of state.

Despite being stripped of much of its mystique and its quasi-divine status in the aftermath of World War II, the Japanese throne is held in deep respect by much of the public.

© AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

29 Comments
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Get well soon Emperor, I was just reading about the Emeritus professor of Kyoto University, Ito Mitsuharu who fell down in his lecture on “Economics of nuclear power” from cardiac infarction.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I wish him well - a successful operation and a speedy recovery with many healthy years ahead of him - the last thing Japan needs now, on top of all last year's troubles, is a troubled change in the Imperial Household.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Prayers for him and his family at this time. May yhe Doctors hands be guided Well...

0 ( +4 / -4 )

the emperor is expected to be hospitalized for about two weeks

No operation is routine. I wish you well during the operation.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

what's up with all the "thumbs downs"?? The Emperor needs our support

0 ( +9 / -9 )

Good luck old fella! We share the same birthday.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

what's up with all the "thumbs downs"?? The Emperor needs our support

Many people can only see and is being irritated by the emperor luxurious life and can't distinguish his wealthy , yet sometimes painful position from personal human suffering. True , many people suffers from the same problem without being wealthy and receiving proper medical attention, though. Possibly hence the irritation.

I am neither envious nor irritated by his wealth, instead I wish all of us could have the same wealth and safety net that the emperor has. Would be better.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Surgery at his age is risky at best. But the alternatives ain't too rosy either.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What wealth does the emperor have? The imperial family are owned by the people. I don't envy his position, no freedoms and all that highly structured behavior. I enjoy being a free man too much. But I hope his op works out just fine.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

What wealth does the emperor have? The imperial family are owned by the people. I don't envy his position, no freedoms and all that highly structured behavior. I enjoy being a free man too much. But I hope his op works out just fine.

Yes, I bet he would rather join his relatives who were stripped of their titles and privileges by the Allied Occupational Forces and forced to sell ice creams on the streets to make a living after the war. Would he be able to afford to see the same doctors, the best in the country at Tokyo University Hospital with such prompt service as he is getting now?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

the best in the country at Tokyo University Hospital with such prompt service as he is getting now?

The hospital only gives the best and high tech facility, but it was not publicly announced who or which medical team performs the surgery, whether Japanese or not. Maybe it was announced and I just missed the news.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So is he on the same National Health Insurance plan that the government has everybody else on?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

be well

0 ( +0 / -0 )

best of luck with the operation! Keep smilin you remind me of jay leno! : )

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Doesn't say how many bypasses. Well, good luck in both the sugery(s) and recovery.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I feel sorry for the Emperor in the sense that he'll be at the mercy of a team of Japanese doctors! In my eight years here, 99% of the doctors I have had the misfortune to encounter seemed to have studied medicine from the back of a cereal packet!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

All the best, bud. My grand-dad had a triple-bypass op 30 op years ago in Aus. and still got about 15 more years of life! Nowadays the procedure is a many times more effective and recovery is way better than a decade or two back.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@bilderberg

I feel sorry for the Emperor in the sense that he'll be at the mercy of a team of Japanese doctors! In my eight years here, 99% of the doctors I have had the misfortune to encounter seemed to have studied medicine from the back of a cereal packet!

It's you I feel sorry for. In my twenty years here I've been treated for four separate bone fractures (including a 5-hour, re-setting op), a mamushi bite and severe food poisoning (3 weeks in hospital, lost 14 kg). All the docs and nurses involved were Japanese, and in two cases at least they saved my life. Very professional and very compassionate. You must have been very, very unlucky.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If his advisers are smart they will import a heart surgeon from India, where they do more heart procedures than anywhere else in the world.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I went to the Imperial Palace today and signed the book wishing him well in the surgery and during his recovery time. Sometimes the lines there are very long during such occasions, but today I was the only one there at the time I signed one of the books.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Akishino-sama is referred to as the emperor's second son and his youngest son. Since the Emperor and Empress only have two sons, I believe Akishino-sama is both the second and younger son.

Hope the doctors handle this and other operations with skill and expertise and the emperor goes on for a long time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So is he on the same National Health Insurance plan that the government has everybody else on?

I guess not. He has privileges, if he was like the rest of us, he will be either on a waiting list or transferred from hospital to hospital for lack of bed or doctors.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I sincerely hope the operation is a big success and His Highness returns home soon. I remember seeing the Emporer and Empress Michiko walking around the shelters in the tsunami ravaged areas and it was touching. Speaking to my students, a lot of them respect and admire the Royal Family here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Best wishes and success!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@GW

I was with my kids up in the mountains playing with a ball. The ball rolled into some long grass. I went to pick it up.

Wife: "Careful. There are snakes around here."

Me: "My God, woman, can you do anything but worry.... ouch! Help, I'm bleeding! It burns!!"

So, basically my own fault :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wish him and like everyone going to this kind of treatment my best of luck. Emperors and kings are totally out of my thinking mode but I respect tradition. Having said that I strongly believe that he - being recognized as an impartial and wise person - has missed a historical opportunity to ask solemnly J-gov and TEPCO to be honest with Japanese people. Being the emperor of all Japanese, he should voice their concerns on a firm manner in this crisis situation. Even if he is not allowed to do so. If he is really an emperor he must have the sense of responsibility and take the risk for the well-being of Japan. Otherwise he is just an expensive muppet like any other king/queen/princess/... Wishing him a swift recovery.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Emperor wants to be well in time for the March 11 ceremonies coming up.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'll sign the Get-Well Card in the Japanese Embassy in Malaysia AFTER the surgery :(

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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