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  #1  
Old 12-27-2002, 02:56 PM
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Emperor Akihito and Emperess Michiko: News and Pictures

Emperor Akihito expresses empathy toward abductees

Looking back over the past year on the occasion of his 69th birthday Monday, Emperor Akihito made special mention of the five Japanese abducted to North Korea more than 20 years ago and who have since returned to Japan.

"One can barely imagine the agony and sorrow caused to the victims themselves and their families over many long years," the Emperor said. "It was a momentous event when some aspects of the abduction incidents were revealed" as a result of the Sept. 17 visit of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to Pyongyang and the subsequent homecoming of the five abductees in October.

The Emperor also spoke of the Nov. 21 death of his cousin Prince Takamado, 47, saying the news "came as a terrible shock."

He said he attended a luncheon at the Imperial Palace with Prince Takamado the day before he died. The prince was in very good spirits, according to the Emperor.

Referring to the prince's role in helping Japan cohost the 2002 World Cup soccer finals with South Korea, the Emperor said, "I am happy that he made efforts to deepen friendship with the Republic of Korea, attending the opening ceremony of the tournament (there)."

South Korea and Japan cohosted the event, which was held between May 31 and June 30. Prince Takamado was an honorary patron of the Japan Football Association.

The Emperor also restated his feelings of closeness toward South Korea. The two countries have come a long way since the end of World War II, he said, noting the significance of the World Cup tournament.

"I believe we should take this opportunity to remember those people who, out of the difficult relations between our peoples that prevailed after the war, created the relations necessary for the joint hosting (of the World Cup) to take place," he said.

Noting other happy events over the past year, the Emperor cited the two Nobel prizes won by homegrown talent. Masatoshi Koshiba took the prize for physics, and Koichi Tanaka for chemistry.

The Emperor also made mention of the 30th anniversary of the reversion of Okinawa to Japan in May, saying "I vividly recall watching television" on May 15, 30 years ago, when the U.S. flag was lowered and the Japanese flag was hoisted in the middle of the night.

"I ardently hope that people will always remember the history of Okinawa, where such enormous sacrifices were made in the last war, and that the desire for a return to Japan was realized after such a long time," he said.

The Japan Times: Dec. 23, 2002

Link: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getart...n20021223a2.htm
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  #2  
Old 12-27-2002, 02:58 PM
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Emperor in hospital for biopsy

Tuesday, December 24, 2002 at 17:30 JST
TOKYO — Emperor Akihito was hospitalized Tuesday for a prostate checkup, the Imperial Household Agency said. Agency officials said the emperor, who turned 69 on Monday, will spend the night at the Hospital of the Imperial Household as a precaution.

They said pathology results will be available in about a week and released in early January. The emperor is undergoing the prostate check because blood tests over the past three years showed "slightly worrisome" figures, according to the agency. (Kyodo News)

Link: http://www.japantoday.com/e/?content=news&...cat=1&id=243867
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  #3  
Old 12-27-2002, 03:01 PM
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Transcript of press conference given on Emperor Akihito's birthday.

Date: 19 December 2002
Imperial Palace, Tokyo



Question 1
Looking back over the past year, please tell us about the events that have left a strong impression on Your Majesty, including your reminiscences about His Imperial Highness Prince Takamado who passed away last month.

Answer 1
The severe economic situation has persisted throughout this year and I am concerned that this has caused various hardships in the lives of the people of Japan. I hope that the situation will show some signs of improvement next year.

There were relatively few natural disasters in Japan this year, and we were blessed with fine weather. I was happy to see that the agricultural harvest was generally good, with the exception of certain areas. Over the course of the year, however, natural disasters have claimed the lives of some 50 people, which is most distressing. The natural environment of Japan is a harsh one and until sixteen years ago, with the exception of only one year, natural disasters took the lives of more than 100 people each year. The reduction in the number of lives lost by natural disasters in recent years is a result of the efforts of the various people who have been involved for many years in forest conservancy and water control, and also those who strive to give the weather information as accurately and quickly as possible. I am very much heartened by those efforts.

The volcanic activity on Miyakejima has not yet subsided and the island remains in a state of total evacuation. I sympathize with the islanders for the many and various hardships they are enduring in a totally different environment and I hope that they will all take good care of themselves. I look forward to the day when they can return to their island in good spirits. I also hope that the people involved in the restoration of the island take care of themselves, making good progress in their restoration work.

It was a momentous event when some aspects of the abduction incidents were revealed as a result of the visit by Prime Minister Koizumi to North Korea, and subsequently five of the abductees returned home. One can barely imagine the agony and sorrow caused to the victims themselves and their families over many long years.

A happy event this year was that both Japan and the Republic of Korea advanced to the final tournament in the 2002 FIFA World Cup which the two countries jointly hosted. Although Japan did not advance as far as the Republic of Korea, I was much encouraged by the good efforts shown by the Japanese players that I saw on television. I believe that their efforts brought happy feelings to many people in Japan. I am pleased that the joint hosting of the World Cup contributed to promoting mutual understanding and friendly relations between the peoples of Japan and the Republic of Korea.

I was also very pleased that Dr. Masatoshi Koshiba was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics and Mr. Koichi Tanaka was awarded it in Chemistry. I am sure that this gave encouragement to many people.

Something I did this year that has left an impression on me was my official visits with the Empress to the Republic of Poland and the Republic of Hungary in July and the visits to the Czech Republic and the Republic of Austria on weekends before and in between the two official visits. We were received with heartfelt hospitality by the Presidents of all of these countries and their wives, and were also warmly welcomed by many people. This was our first opportunity to visit those four countries and we were able to deepen our understanding of how those countries have experienced difficulties in the past and how they are now actively engaged in development, upholding democracy.

This year also, I had the opportunity to visit the regions of Japan on such occasions as National Arbor Day, the National Athletic Meet, and the National Convention for the Development of an Abundantly Productive Sea, and I made efforts to meet with people and to acquaint myself with the actual situation in each of the regions I visited. In each region, the aging of the society is proceeding apace and I can well imagine the resultant hardships of the people. On the occasion of the National Convention for the Development of an Abundantly Productive Sea, held in Nagasaki Prefecture, I had the opportunity to visit for the first time the islands of Hirado and Ikitsuki, and Fukue City on the Goto Archipelago. Since my accession to the throne I have wanted to visit all the prefectures of Japan as soon as possible, but still two prefectures remain for me to visit. When the opportunity presents itself, I would also like to visit the outlying islands of Japan and meet with the people who live there.

This year marked the thirtieth anniversary of the reversion of Okinawa to Japan. I vividly recall watching television thirty years ago on 15 May, when the flag of the United States of America was lowered and the flag of Japan was hoisted in the middle of the night. I ardently hope that people will always remember the history of Okinawa, where such enormous sacrifices were made in the last war and the desire of returning to Japan was realized after such a long time. I also pray that the people of Okinawa will go on to live happily.

The anniversary of the reversion of Okinawa to Japan is also the anniversary of the day 70 years ago when Prime Minister Tsuyoshi Inukai was assassinated by navy officers, in the so-called May 15th Incident. This incident marked the end, although it had only existed for a short period, of a political-party cabinet system in Japan, which would not again be possible until after the end of the Second World War.

The passing of Prince Takamado was so sudden, it came as a terrible shock. The last occasion I had of meeting with him was the day before his demise at a luncheon held at the Imperial Palace for public prosecutors, including the Public Prosecutor General. At that time, talk of sports came up and the Prince was in very good spirits. I could never have imagined that such a thing would happen the very next day. It is sad indeed. Among the activities carried out by Prince Takamado this year were his efforts in the joint hosting of the World Cup with the Republic of Korea in his capacity as Honorary Patron of the Japan Football Association. I am happy that he made efforts to deepen friendship with the Republic of Korea, attending the opening ceremony of the tournament in the Republic of Korea and visiting the regions of that country.


Question 2
In Your Majesty's press conference prior to your visit to Central and Eastern Europe, you described the political system of the former Soviet Union as having been gone-party autocratic rule.h Also, on the occasion of Your Majesty's meeting with President Kim Dae Jung of the Republic of Korea you mentioned the Republic of Korea military personnel who died in the exchange of fire between the Republic of Korea and North Korea. Her Majesty the Empress also gave her candid opinions concerning North Korean abduction incidents. Although Your Majesties have not spoken about such political situations and international conflicts to date, could you tell us your current thoughts?

Answer 2
In my press conference I mentioned gone-party autocratic ruleh in the context of the historical facts that the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and the gPrague Springh liberation movement of 1968, which were movements opposing "one-party autocratic rule" under the control of the Soviet Union, did not succeed.

It was on the occasion of the World Cup Final that I met with His Exellency President Kim Dae Jung of the Republic of Korea. It was because I sensed that President Kim must be distressed, being in a foreign land, at the death of four Republic of Korea military personnel in an exchange of fire that had taken place immediately before our meeting.

The Empress touched upon the abduction incidents by North Korea as she was asked in the course of questions from the press on the occasion of her birthday to share her feelings over the year past, and the question posed to her made reference to the World Cup and the Japan-North Korea Summit Meeting. We have the awful memory of the abduction attempt that occurred in Takaoka City in Toyama Prefecture and I too understand extremely well the feelings of the Empress when she said that she could not regret enough why all of us had not continued to register the absence of the abductees more strongly as a matter of common concern for our society.

You said that in the past I have made few references to political situations or international conflicts. But as it is impossible to ignore the changes in the international situation among the events over one year, I have touched in the past on such major events as the Gulf War and the changes in the situation of the Soviet Union in some of my press conferences, looking back over the year that had just passed.


Question 3
This year Her Imperial Highness Princess Aiko, the first daughter of Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Princess celebrated her first birthday in good health, and Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Princess have made their first official overseas goodwill visit in eight years. Her Majesty the Empress has spoken about the glively atmosphere that now pervades the Crown Prince's Residence.h Seeing the situation for the family of His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince, there are those who want to accept that a female emperor be allowed to ascend the throne. What are Your Majesty's opinions concerning this issue?

Answer 3
As Imperial succession is stipulated by the Imperial Household Law, I believe this is a matter that should be left to discussions in the Diet.

Princess Aiko welcomed her first birthday in good health and I feel that she is showing a heightened awareness of many more things around her and I am happy at the way she is growing.

Regarding the official visits to Australia and New Zealand by the Crown Prince and Princess, since the Empress and I also paid official visits to these two countries nearly 30 years ago, we are indeed looking forward to hearing what they have to tell us upon their return. I was slightly younger than the Crown Prince is now when we made that visit, and I have fond memories of that time.


Question 4
Following discussion concerning information disclosure and the privacy of the Imperial Family, in autumn this year the transcript of the first meeting between Emperor Showa and General MacArthur was made public for the first time, after 58 years. It is thought that only a part of a number of similar records kept for such meetings or otherwise by those who served Emperor Showa have been released. It is assumed that Your Majesty has the transcript of the first meeting and other such records. Could you please tell us of your thoughts and recollections concerning Emperor Showa at those times.

Answer 4
The early days of the Showa era began with the assassination of Zhang Zuolin in Manchuria, which occurred in the year the Ceremonies of Ascension to the Throne took place, and that was followed by incidents and armed conflicts, one after another. It was an era in which there were few periods of peace. After that, World War II began and over three million Japanese are known to have lost their lives. I feel on occasion that Emperor Showa must have suffered great anguish throughout this time as he felt very keenly the value of peace, having visited the Verdun battlefield of the First World War during his tour of Europe when he was Crown Prince.


Question 5
Your Majesty continues to spend busy days performing various official duties, and Her Majesty the Empress and a number of other people around you are paying close attention to Your Majesty's health. Next year Your Majesty will greet your 70th birthday, and given this milestone, how are you considering the balance between your official duties and your age? What are your thoughts on the question of how to share the duties with the other members of the Imperial Family.

Answer 5
The Emperor's official duties have increased compared to those of the Showa era. This is because the number of countries has increased and exchanges between countries are flourishing. At the beginning of the Heisei era 15 countries emerged from the former Soviet Union and five countries from the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, thus two countries became 20. A number of other independent countries were also created. On the 16th of this month I received the credentials of the first Ambassador to Japan of the Republic of San Marino. Furthermore, in the Showa era, official visits by Heads of State of foreign countries were made only as State Visits, but in the Heisei era, official working visits by them have been added.

Thus, my official duties have increased, but I would like to diligently continue carrying out the official duties that are deemed desirable to be performed in my capacity.

As for the sharing of duties with the other members of the Imperial Family, I think that the matter should be considered first taking into account the nature of the duties in question.


Related Question
I would like to ask a question regarding the 2002 FIFA World Cup co-hosted by Japan and the Republic of Korea. Your Majesty stated that His Imperial Highness Prince Takamado made great efforts towards the success of the World Cup and to deepen the friendship with the Republic of Korea. On the occasion of his recent official visit to the Republic of Korea, His Imperial Highness Prince Takamado stated that the World Cup marked a major step forward for both Japan and the Republic of Korea in the 21st century. Please describe what Your Majesty thinks was the historical significance of the World Cup for Japan and the Republic of Korea and what kind of relations are desirable for Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Answer
The Republic of Korea is a country located extremely close to Japan. I have heard that from Tsushima one can see the city lights of Pusan. Relations between such neighboring countries are indeed vital and I feel that it is extremely important to advance our friendly relations. Seen from an historical perspective as well, the Chronicles of Japan describes in detail the fact that there were many exchanges with Paekche and the other kingdoms at that time. In our long history there have been diverse kinds of exchanges between our countries and I think that what is important is to thoroughly recognize that history, and based on such a recognition, to continue to further build friendly relations between our two countries.

What must not be forgotten is the fact that it became possible for the World Cup to be jointly hosted by Japan and the Republic of Korea. I believe that we should take this opportunity to remember those people who built from the situation of difficult relations between our peoples that prevailed after the war to create the relations necessary for this joint hosting to take place.

Link: http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/epress/epress-02-12.html
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  #4  
Old 12-28-2002, 12:07 PM
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Saturday, 28 December, 2002, 11:15 GMT
Japan's emperor has cancer

Japan's Emperor Akihito has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and will undergo surgery next month, Japan's Imperial Household has announced.
A biopsy revealing the presence of cancer cells had been performed after a series of "slightly worrisome" blood tests.

Doctors believe the cancer has not spread to other parts of his body, the Kyodo news agency reported, citing officials within the Imperial Household.

The 69-year-old emperor is expected to remain in hospital for a month after he is admitted in January.

New Year address

According to Japanese tradition, Emperor Akihito is Japan's 125th imperial sovereign in an unbroken line from Emperor Jimmu, who ascended the throne in about 660BC.

He took the throne in 1989 following the death of his father Hirohito, who had ruled for 62 years.

Hirohito died of duodenal papilla cancer.

Emperor Akihito is still expected to address the public in his traditional New Year appearance.

Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/2611161.stm
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  #5  
Old 12-28-2002, 12:10 PM
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Emperor Akihito diagnosed with prostate cancer
Sat Dec 28, 8:58 AM ET

By KENJI HALL, Associated Press Writer

TOKYO - Emperor Akihito has been diagnosed with prostate cancer (news - web sites), and will undergo surgery next month, Japan's Imperial Household Agency announced Saturday.

Akihito, 69, was examined by doctors on Tuesday, after blood tests over the past two to three years had shown "slightly worrisome" signs, an agency spokesman said.

The results of a prostate biopsy revealed the presence of cancer cells, the spokesman said on condition of anonymity. Doctors believe the cancer hasn't spread and that the emperor has a "good chance of a full recovery," he said.

The emperor is now scheduled to undergo an operation at Tokyo University Hospital in mid-January to have the cancerous tissue removed, and will be hospitalized for about one month, the spokesman said.

Akihito's eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will temporarily assume the emperor's duties, if necessary, the official said.

Agency officials said earlier this week that the emperor had not had prostate problems in the past and had been feeling well.

But his annual exam, which usually takes place in January, was moved up about a month after his recent blood pressure results had indicated a possibility of prostate cancer, the spokesman said. The emperor hadn't complained of pain or shown any other symptoms, he said.

The emperor's test results had been expected to be released in early January. The surprise announcement will allow the emperor to withdraw from some of the New Year's festivities at the Imperial Palace, though he is still scheduled to appear before the public on Jan. 1 for his traditional holiday address.

Akihito's tests came after he celebrated his birthday on Monday by greeting thousands of well-wishers at Tokyo's moat-ringed palace.

The last time the emperor was hospitalized was in June 1995, when he had surgery to remove a nonmalignant polyp in his large intestine.

Akihito assumed the throne after the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito, in 1989. Hirohito, known posthumously in Japan as Emperor Showa, died of intestinal cancer at the age of 87.

Under Japan's postwar constitution, the royal family has no official political powers and its role is largely symbolic. They frequently travel abroad, however, to bolster international relations

Link: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...japan_emperor_5
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  #6  
Old 01-03-2003, 07:44 PM
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Japanese cheer emperor
By Colin Joyce in Tokyo
(Filed: 03/01/2003)

Tens of thousands of emotional Japanese gathered at the imperial palace in Tokyo yesterday for Emperor Akihito's last public appearance before surgery for prostate cancer.

The 69-year-old monarch appeared on the palace balcony seven times, wishing a happy new year to nearly 80,000 of his subjects.

Visitors waved rising sun flags and shouted: "Tenno heika banzai [May the emperor live ten thousand years]!"

The Imperial Household Agency announced at the weekend that the emperor has prostate cancer and would take a month off official duties for treatment, with his son Crown Prince Naruhito temporarily taking over.

According to Japanese media reports the emperor, a widely respected figure, is expected to make a full recovery, but the announcement prompted concern over his health and guaranteed yesterday's high turnout.

Seiji Ono, a 33-year-old company employee from outside Tokyo, decided to come with his wife and child after hearing that the emperor had cancer. "When I heard the news I thought, 'I hope he gets well soon'. Japan is a country with a long history and the imperial succession stretches back with that history. The emperor is the inheritor of our traditions."

Kiyoshi Koiso, a 56-year-old salaryman, said he thought the emperor was a kind man and expressed confidence that he would recover. "The emperor looked healthy," he said. "He is a symbol of Japan so if he isn't healthy it's a problem."

Such warm words are unusual in a country where many people feel the imperial family is too remote. The distance stems partly from the severe limits placed on what the imperial family can say or do. Japan's post-war constitution prohibits any political role for the emperor.

Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml...03/ixworld.html
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  #7  
Old 01-03-2003, 07:45 PM
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77,000 turn out for Emperor's New Year's talk

About 77,000 well-wishers visited the Imperial Palace on Thursday as Emperor Akihito offered his annual New Year's greetings.

I am very pleased to celebrate the new year with everybody. I wish happiness to people in our country as well as the whole world," the Emperor said in a speech delivered from the balcony of Chowaden Palace.

It was the Emperor's first public appearance since he was diagnosed last week with prostate cancer.

The Emperor, 69, will undergo an operation at Tokyo University Hospital in mid-January to have the cancerous tissue removed, according to the Imperial Household Agency. He is expected to remain in the hospital for about one month.

The Emperor appeared on the balcony at 10:10 a.m. to wave to the public, together with Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito, Crown Princess Masako, Prince Akishino, Princess Kiko and Princess Nori.

His younger brother, Prince Hitachi, and his wife, Princess Hanako, also appeared on the balcony. The Imperial family made another appearance before well-wishers in the afternoon.

The Japan Times: Jan. 3, 2003

Link: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getart...n20030103a1.htm
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  #8  
Old 01-12-2003, 11:27 PM
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Hospital preparing for Emperor's stay for cancer surgery

Police and officials at the University of Tokyo Hospital are on alert ahead of the arrival of Emperor Akihito to undergo surgery for prostate cancer on Jan. 18.
It will be the first time an emperor has undergone an operation at an institution other than the Hospital of the Imperial Household.

The Emperor, who was diagnosed with the cancer in December, will be admitted to the hospital, in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward, on Thursday.

He is scheduled to remain hospitalized for about a month -- an unprecedentedly long period for an emperor to spend outside the Imperial Palace grounds.

An official of the Imperial Household Agency said the agency will try not to inconvenience other patients at the hospital and will minimize the number of personnel stationed at the institution during the Emperor's hospitalization.

The 69-year-old Emperor will be admitted to a special room on the 14th floor of a new, 15-story complex, which was completed in 2001. The "super-VIP suite," which commands a good view of downtown Tokyo, has four rooms, a kitchen and a bath over 116 sq. meters.

The hospital charges an extra 250,000 yen a day for the suite.

It is designed to accommodate foreign VIPs, including heads of state, university officials said. The hospital was ready to accommodate Crown Princess Masako in the event of an emergency when she gave birth to her daughter, Princess Aiko, in December 2001, they added.

The floor has 30 other rooms, but a card key is required for access to the VIP area, according to the officials.

Officers from the special police squad assigned to the Imperial Household will guard the area, while plainclothes officers from the Metropolitan Police Department plan to patrol the other floors, parking lots and remaining areas of the hospital on a 24-hour basis, police sources said.

"We need to provide substantial security, but we also must be careful not to do too much. We do not want to be taken by other patients as a domineering presence," said a senior MPD official.

The university hospital has about 1,000 beds and treats an average of about 3,000 outpatients a day. The relatively large institution also has a helicopter pad on the roof.

Since the operation will be performed on the fourth floor of a different building within the complex, officials are concerned about security when the Emperor is moved from the VIP suite to the operating theater.

According the Imperial Household Agency, the Emperor has a very good chance of making a full recovery once the cancerous tissue is removed.

The cancer is a well-differentiated tumor and will not spread, it said.

The Japan Times: Jan. 12, 2003

Link: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getart...n20030112a2.htm
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  #9  
Old 01-15-2003, 10:38 PM
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Japanese emperor admitted to hospital for prostate surgery
2 hours, 15 minutes ago

TOKYO - Emperor Akihito was admitted to a Tokyo hospital Thursday ahead of an operation for prostate cancer (news - web sites) scheduled this weekend, the Imperial Household Agency said.

The 69-year-old monarch is set to undergo surgery to remove the cancerous tissue Saturday at the University of Tokyo Hospital, said an agency official on condition of anonymity.

Doctors who examined the emperor said they believe the cancer hasn't spread and that he has a good chance of a full recovery, according to the agency.

Akihito is expected to remain in the hospital for about a month. Crown Prince Naruhito has assumed his father's constitutional duties until the monarch is well enough to resume them.

Akihito ascended the throne after the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito, in 1989. Hirohito, known posthumously in Japan as Emperor Showa, died of intestinal cancer at the age of 87.

Under Japan's postwar constitution, the royal family has no official political powers and its role is largely symbolic. They frequently travel abroad, however, to bolster international relations.

The last time the emperor was hospitalized was in June 1995, when he had surgery to remove a benign polyp in his large intestine.

Thursday's hospitalization is the first time a Japanese emperor has received major medical treatment outside of the moat-ringed Imperial Palace grounds, the agency said.

Link: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...japan_emperor_1
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Old 01-20-2003, 06:05 PM
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Cancer surgery on Japanese emperor ends successfully: doctors

Saturday, 18-Jan-2003 12:51PM
Story from AFP / Shingo Ito

TOKYO, Jan 18 (AFP) - Surgery to remove Japanese Emperor Akihito's cancerous prostate gland was carried out successfully on Saturday, and cancer did not appear to have spread to other organs, doctors said.

"The operation went smoothly as scheduled ... and finished successfully," Ichiro Kanazawa, medical supervisor of the Imperial Household Agency, told a news conference at the University of Tokyo Hospital.

"His Majesty woke up from the anesthetic and had a talk with the empress and Princess Sayako, who have accompanied him.

"Judging from appearances, we believe that (cancer) has not spread."

Kanazawa said that doctors would carry out a further test to confirm the disease was limited to the prostate gland and the results would be known in seven to 10 days.

Six doctors carried out the operation, which lasted three hours and 40 minutes, to remove Akihito's entire prostate gland.

As Akihito, 69, was undergoing the operation, 6,700 people signed books outside the palace hoping for the success of the surgery.

Akihito ascended the Chrysanthemum throne, the world's oldest royal dynasty, in 1989.

Akihito is scheduled to spend about a month recuperating, doctors said.

Kanazawa said that bleeding was limited during the operation, adding that doctors used only Akihito's blood for a transfusion.

The doctors had collected an unspecified amount of blood from the emperor ahead of the operation.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda expressed the government's relief at the outcome.

"We are relieved that the operation finished successfully. From the bottom of my heart, I hope for his recovery at the earliest time," he said in a statement.

Tadaichi Kitamura, urology professor at Tokyo University in the mediacal team, said he "simply told His Majesty that the operation finished very smoothly and successfully" as patiends tend to feel dizzy right after surgery.

"He replied 'ah, thank you' as usual," Kitamura said, adding the empress and princess "looked very relieved".

Another prominent surgeon, National Cancer Centre president Tadao Kakizoe, who also participated in the operation also said everything went as well as possible.

"We were able to do 100 percent of what we can surgically ... The condition of His Majesty is very stable."

Crown Prince Naruhito, 42, assumed the constitutional duties of Akihito shortly before his father was hospitalised, government officials said.

This was the first time the reigning emperor's duties had been transferred due to his illness and hospitalisation.

The imperial household agency said on December 28 that Akihito had been diagnosed with prostate cancer but he could look forward to a complete recovery.

It was an unusual announcement by the palace, which strictly guards private information related to imperial family members.

Akihito's father, Hirohito, died at the age of 87 in 1989, but it was not announced until after his death that he had suffered from cancer.

Link: http://www.radicus.net/news/wed/cn/Qjapan-...al.R4Bk_DJH.asp
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  #11  
Old 01-20-2003, 06:09 PM
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Emperor Akihito's operation for prostate cancer finishes successfully
Sat Jan 18, 4:21 AM ET

By AUDREY McAVOY, Associated Press Writer

TOKYO - Doctors at a Tokyo hospital on Saturday successfully completed surgery on Japan's Emperor Akihito, saying there were no signs his prostate cancer (news - web sites) had spread and predicting a full recovery, the Imperial Household Agency said.

"The operation to remove the prostate gland ... was successfully completed in three hours and 40 minutes," the agency's medical director Ichiro Kanazawa told reporters at a news conference attended by the emperor's surgeons.

Akihito had entered the operating room at the University of Tokyo hospital a little before 8 a.m. (2300 GMT).

The operation went smoothly with less internal bleeding than expected. There were no signs the cancer had spread, although doctors would be confirming that with a follow-up test, Kanazawa said. The 69-year old emperor was diagnosed with cancer last month.
Empress Michiko and the couple's youngest child, Princess Sayako, had spoken with the monarch after he awoke from the anesthetic, he said.

The openness accompanying Akihito's hospitalization breaks with tradition at the imperial household, which has long kept a veil over the royal family's illnesses and medical treatment.

When Akihito's father, the late Emperor Hirohito, was suffering from intestinal cancer in 1989, the Imperial Household Agency told the public he had an ulcer, waiting until after his death to disclose that he had cancer.

Until recently, Japanese doctors would often not tell their patients when they had cancer because they thought it would destroy their will to live.

Akihito's surgery marks the first time a Japanese emperor has received major medical treatment outside the Imperial Palace, which has a hospital within its moat-ringed grounds.

The emperor, who was hospitalized Thursday, is expected to remain in the hospital for about one month to recuperate from the operation.

By midday Saturday, more than 650 people had signed their names in official books at the Imperial Palace to convey their hopes for Akihito's recovery. Another 6,292 people have registered at various locations nationwide since Thursday.

Crown Prince Naruhito has assumed his father's constitutional duties until the monarch is well enough to resume them.

Under Japan's postwar constitution, the royal family has no official political powers and its role is largely symbolic. They frequently travel abroad, however, to bolster international relations.

The last time the emperor was hospitalized was in June 1995, when he had surgery to remove a benign polyp in his large intestine.

Link: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...japan_emperor_6
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Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size. -Virginia Woolf
  #12  
Old 02-08-2003, 12:51 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 754
Emperor to leave hospital early

Emperor Akihito, who underwent a prostate cancer operation last month, will be released from the hospital Saturday afternoon, the Imperial Household Agency announced Thursday.
The 69-year-old Emperor, who was admitted to the University of Tokyo Hospital on Jan. 16 and underwent surgery to remove the prostate gland on Jan. 18, will recuperate for the time being after being released and refrain from taking up any public duties, it said.

He was initially scheduled to stay in the hospital for around one month, but since he has been steadily recovering, doctors recommended an early release, according to the agency.

The Emperor has kept busy by looking through books of signatures from about 48,000 well-wishers, and also using the stairs at the hospital for exercise, according to the chamberlain to the Emperor.

The Japan Times: Feb. 7, 2003

Article From: The Japan Times
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Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size. -Virginia Woolf
  #13  
Old 02-10-2003, 09:18 PM
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Recovering Emperor returns home early

Emperor Akihito, who underwent a prostate cancer operation last month, was released Saturday afternoon from a Tokyo hospital, the Imperial Household Agency said.

The Emperor left the hospital around 4 p.m. with Empress Michiko, who accompanied him during his three-week hospitalization.

The 69-year-old Emperor was admitted to the University of Tokyo Hospital on Jan. 16 and underwent surgery to remove the prostate gland Jan. 18.

The Emperor will recuperate for the time being and refrain from any public duties for about a month, the agency said.

Crown Prince Naruhito took over the Emperor's public duties after he was hospitalized.

The Emperor was initially scheduled to stay in the hospital for about one month, but doctors recommended an early release because the Emperor has made a steady recovery, according to the agency.

Upon his return to the Imperial Palace, the Emperor released a statement expressing gratitude to everyone who had wished him well. He also said he would pray for the recovery of all people suffering from illnesses.

Ichiro Kanazawa, the Imperial Household's medical supervisor, said earlier that the cancerous tissues had been entirely removed and had not spread to other parts of the Emperor's body.

The Emperor will have regular checkups, including blood tests, to ensure the cancer does not recur.

The Japan Times: Feb. 9, 2003

Article From: The Japan Times
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Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size. -Virginia Woolf
  #14  
Old 02-18-2003, 02:54 PM
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Posts: 754
Imperial Family of Japan: News & Photos

As emperor fights cancer, Japanese monarchy searches for its human face
Tue Feb 11, 9:45 PM ET

By NATALIE OBIKO PEARSON, Associated Press Writer

TOKYO - Japan's Emperor Akihito has never seemed more human, nor the palace over which he reigns more open.

As he recovers from an operation for prostate cancer, doctors have called press conferences to give a play-by-play of the surgery, detail his disease and offer their prognosis, which is excellent.

Just 15 years ago, the public wasn't told Akihito's father, the late Emperor Hirohito, had cancer until after he was dead.

The public handling of Akihito's illness — he was released from the hospital over the weekend — offers a sharp contrast with the centuries of closely guarded secrecy that surrounded royal lives spent in quiet seclusion behind moats and palace walls.

But while the newfound openness has been welcomed by many, all is not well with the world's oldest royal family.

Stripped of most of its official powers after World War II, Japan's imperial household has long struggled to define its modern, mostly symbolic role. But it is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the young. And with no male heirs to take over after the next generation, it is facing its most serious succession crisis in centuries.

The transformation of attitudes toward Japan's imperial household over the past 50 years has been stunning.

Until Japan's defeat ended World War II in 1945, the nation, fed on heavy propaganda by the government, revered Akihito's father as a living god. Today, young urbanites don't seem to care much one way or the other.

"Talk about the imperial household with my friends? No, never," said 27-year-old office employee Satoshi Takahashi.

In a poll this month by the Asahi, a major newspaper, 56 percent of the population said they felt "in touch with the imperial household," up 12 percent from a similar poll in 1978.

But only 21 percent of those in their early 20s said they felt that way, while 76 percent felt they were "out of touch."

Public opinion polls also suggest that those young people who do think about the monarchy think it probably needs to move into closer step with the values of the rest of society.

A major test of how open to change the throne is has emerged in its succession crisis.

No boy has been born to the imperial family since the 1960s, but a law written after World War II specifies that only men can assume the throne.

Polls have consistently shown strong support for a revision to allow reigning empresses, particularly following the birth of Crown Prince Naruhito's only child, Princess Aiko, a little over a year ago.

But while many agree there could be much to gain by allowing the Japanese monarchy to update itself, few seem to be willing to lead the effort — least of the all the imperial family itself.

The imperial family has taken no explicit position on the issue, deferring instead to the government, which has shown little interest in making any changes.

"To debate the emperor system is still very much taboo," said Hiroshi Takahashi, an author of numerous books on the imperial household and a lecturer at Tokyo's Kokugakuin University.

The problem, in large part, has to do with the historical legacy of the brutal war fought in Hirohito's name that still looms over the Japanese throne.

Following Japan's defeat, Hirohito renounced his divine status and became a ceremonial "symbol" of the nation in compliance with U.S. occupation forces' demands to separate state and religion.

The postwar palace has been very effectively stripped of its political powers, and giving the monarchy a more significant function is a suggestion that is routinely rejected by a public still wary of the wartime precedent.

The religious issue has been even more delicate.

The emperor quietly remains the head priest of Japan's indigenous Shinto religion. In a "private" capacity, he performs the ancient rituals that trace his lineage to the sun goddess Amaterasu — mythical progenitor of the imperial line and Japanese people.

Few politicians want to challenge this sensitive balance.

"Politically and economically, things have really stalled. It's simply not the right climate to be debating imperial issues," said Isao Tokoro, an expert on the imperial system at Kyoto Sangyo University. "They are not seen as Japan's immediate problems."

Other experts stress that important changes are underway — albeit slowly.

Kenneth Ruoff, director of Portland State University's Center for Japanese Studies and author of "The People's Emperor," noted that Empress Michiko traveled alone to Switzerland last September to attend a children's' book festival. It was her first solo overseas trip in 43 years of marriage.

"It was hugely important step," he said, arguing that it could set the groundwork for a future reigning empress by getting Japan accustomed to a more high-profile role for its imperial women.

But Ruoff added that the monarchy could be doing more.

"If this institution is going to exist, why not reach out to the very people who need its prestige the most? The Ainu, the Koreans and society's untouchables," he said, referring to minorities in Japanese society who continue to face considerable discrimination.

Article From: Yahoo News
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Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size. -Virginia Woolf
  #15  
Old 02-18-2003, 02:56 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 754
Japan's baby princess on the move
Fri Feb 14,10:33 PM ET

TOKYO - Japan's littlest royal, Princess Aiko, is fast learning to walk, talk and even dance, the Imperial Household Agency said Saturday.

In official footage broadcast by major TV networks, the 14-month-old princess tottered around a play room and punched buttons on a CD player as she bobbed her head to music at Togu Palace — the official residence of Crown Prince Naruhito and his wife, Masako.

She is now able to speak a few words, such as "panpan" for bread and "manma" for her mother, an agency official said on condition of anonymity.

As the only child to the royal heir, Aiko's birth in Dec. 2001 generated intense debate over whether Japan's men-only succession law should be changed to allow her to one day ascend the throne.

The imperial family has refused to comment on such a change, saying it is a political matter for the government to decide.

Occasional peeks into the private lives of the royals are slowly becoming more common place.

The openness accompanying Emperor Akihito's diagnosis with prostate cancer and subsequent surgery last month, broke with tradition at the imperial household, which has long kept a veil over the more intimate affairs of the royal family.

In Saturday's footage, Aiko toddled between the outstretched hands of her parents, who were dressed casually in sweaters and trousers.

Under Japan's postwar constitution, the royal family has no official political powers and its role is largely symbolic. They frequently travel abroad to bolster international relations, however. \

Article From: Yahoo News
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Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size. -Virginia Woolf
  #16  
Old 02-18-2003, 02:59 PM
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Princess Aiko with her parents, Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako.


February 14, 2003

Photo From: Yahoo News
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Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size. -Virginia Woolf
  #17  
Old 02-18-2003, 11:52 PM
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Posts: 754
Emperor resumes public duties

Emperor Akihito resumed his public duties Tuesday after a month of rest following prostate cancer surgery Jan. 18.

The Cabinet officially endorsed the 69-year-old Emperor resuming his state duties. In the afternoon, he was tasked with signing government papers and performing other duties.

While hospitalized at the University of Tokyo Hospital and recuperating at the Imperial Palace, the Emperor temporarily shifted his state duties to his son, Crown Prince Naruhito.

The Emperor was discharged from the hospital Feb. 8 -- earlier than scheduled because he has been making a steady recovery. He has since been recuperating at the Imperial Palace, occasionally walking in the grounds, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

The agency said that through March, the Emperor will refrain from outings and public functions other than essential constitutional duties, until he fully recovers.

Doctors said earlier that the Emperor's cancerous tissues had been entirely removed and had not spread to other parts of his body.

Although not a state duty, the Emperor is expected to meet at the palace with Afghan President Hamid Karzai when he visits Japan later this week, the agency said.

Karzai will be in Japan for four days starting Thursday to attend an international conference to help establish peace in Afghanistan.

The Japan Times: Feb. 19, 2003

Article From: The Japan Times
__________________
Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size. -Virginia Woolf
  #18  
Old 02-18-2003, 11:55 PM
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Posts: 754
Japan Emperor Back to Work After Surgery
Mon Feb 17, 9:59 PM ET

TOKYO - Japan's Emperor Akihito resumed his official duties Tuesday after taking a one-month rest to undergo cancer surgery.

Officials said the 69-year-old monarch's recovery from the surgery on Jan. 18 for prostate cancer has been better than expected. He was released early from the hospital and is expected to fully recover.

During Akihito's hospitalization, his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, took over all official duties.

Akihito's return to his official role was approved Tuesday morning by a Cabinet vote. One of his first duties will be to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Friday.

The last time the emperor was hospitalized was in June 1995, when he had surgery to remove a benign polyp in his large intestine.

Under Japan's postwar constitution, the royal family has no official political powers and its role is largely symbolic. They frequently travel abroad, sign government documents, greet dignitaries and bestow various cultural awards.

Article From: Yahoo News
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Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size. -Virginia Woolf
  #19  
Old 02-18-2003, 11:59 PM
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Posts: 754
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko walk toward the Imperial Palace from their residence to resume official duties in Tokyo, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2003. Akihito took a one-month rest period after undergoing cancer surgery. Officials said the 69-year-old monarch's recovery from the surgery on Jan. 18. for prostate cancer has been better than expected.

Photo and News From: Yahoo News

Emperor Akihito reads a document after he resumed official duties at his office in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2003, after taking a one-month rest to undergo cancer surgery.

Photo and News From: Yahoo News
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Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size. -Virginia Woolf
  #20  
Old 04-28-2003, 02:59 PM
Heir Apparent
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: , Canada
Posts: 3,220
The Japanese Imperial family is seldom in the press, but I recently found some pictures of Prince Naruhito, Princess Masako and their darling daughter, Princess Aiko.

From All Over Press: HAYAMA, JAPAN - APRIL 13: Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako play with their daughter, Princess Aiko, as they visit the coast near their private house April 13, 2003 in Hayama, Japan. (Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)

Likttle Aiko practices her royal wave!

From www.alloverpress.com: HAYAMA, JAPAN - APRIL 13: Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako play with their daughter, Princess Aiko, as they visit the coast near their private house April 13, 2003 in Hayama, Japan. (Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)

From www.alloverpress.com: HAYAMA, JAPAN - APRIL 13: Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako play with their daughter, Princess Aiko, as they visit the coast near their private house April 13, 2003 in Hayama, Japan. (Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)

How cute is little Aiko!
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