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Monday, 13th February 2012
In General Japan News,

Emperor Akihito to have heart surgery

The 78-year-old emperor of Japan is to have heart bypass surgery this weekend (February 18th).

Having suffered from a string of health problems, Emperor Akihito was taken to hospital over the weekend for tests on his heart.

Last year, it was discovered that he has narrowing arteries and tests showed that the condition has worsened, resulting in the decision to proceed with surgery in an attempt to preserve his health, the Daily Telegraph reported.

According to an Imperial Palace spokesman quoted by the news provider, doctors made the call to carry out the surgery "to maintain and to improve his majesty's daily life".

Having taken to the throne in 1989 after the death of his father, Emperor Akihito has suffered from ill health for some time, undergoing surgery in 2003 for prostate cancer after bleeding in his stomach was identified earlier and presumed to be as a result of stress.

In December, the emperor used his traditional birthday speech to praise the spirit of the Japanese people following the twin 2011 tsunami and earthquake disasters.

Written by Kimberley Homer

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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)