Japan's emperor resumes duties after illness

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jul 05 2018 03:06 PM

Japan's Emperor Akihito makes an appearance to open a session of parliament in Tokyo, Japan January 22, 2018. Kim Kyung-Hoon, Reuters/File

TOKYO- Japan's aging Emperor Akihito resumed his official duties on Thursday after three days of treatment for insufficient blood supply to the brain, a palace spokesperson told AFP.

The 84-year-old had canceled engagements from Monday after suffering dizziness and nausea caused by the condition, known as cerebral anemia.

A palace spokesperson said the monarch on Thursday was "doing his official duties as usual," declining to comment further.

On Wednesday the palace had reported Akihito's health was improving.

The monarch earlier had surgery for prostate cancer and heart problems, and the state of his health is carefully watched in Japan.

He shocked the country in 2016 when he signaled his desire to step down after nearly three decades on the job, citing his age and health problems.

On Monday, a government spokesperson said the monarch had been treated for cerebral anemia, and the following day the palace said he was still suffering from vertigo and a stomach ache.

Akihito is set to be the first emperor to retire -- on April 30, 2019 -- in more than two centuries in the world's oldest imperial family.

He will be succeeded by his eldest son.

The status of the emperor is sensitive in Japan -- a legacy of the massive Pacific war waged in the name of Akihito's father Hirohito, who died in 1989.

Akihito has embraced the more modern role as a symbol of the state, which was imposed on the royal family after World War II ended. Previous emperors including Hirohito had been treated as semi-divine.