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Tuesday, 23rd December 2008
In General Japan News,

Emperor Akihito celebrates 75th birthday

Japan's emperor Akihito celebrates his 75th birthday today (December 23rd).

In his traditional birthday message, the monarch, who is approaching his 20th anniversary on the throne, expressed his concerns for those affected by the global economic downturn.

He commented: "I am worried that there may be many people who are struggling at the end of the year amid the severe economic conditions.

"I hope that everyone will be in good health to celebrate the New Year."

He also said he expected to get gradually better after recovering from prostrate cancer and spoke of his wife who experienced intestinal bleeding in 2007.

Members of the royal family have called for the imperial couple's workload to be reduced in their old age, reports Reuters.

Akihito is Japan's 125th emperor according to the country's traditional order of succession.

He is the only serving monarch in the world to retain the title emperor.

Related news stories:
Crown Prince urges Emperor Akihito to 'reduce burden' (24th February 2012)
Japanese emperor celebrates 20 years (12th November 2009)
Emperor in hospital with ?mild? pneumonia (18th November 2011)
Japan marks 5 years since tsunami (11th March 2016)
Japan opens Tokyo Imperial Palace to public (23rd April 2014)