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Friday, 24th February 2012
In General Japan News,

Crown Prince urges Emperor Akihito to 'reduce burden'

Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito has said that his father Emperor Akihito should reduce his workload after undergoing heart bypass surgery a week ago.

Making the comments in a press conference to mark his birthday, the 52-year-old prince said that given his father's age, it is necessary for him to cut down on his official duties, AFP reported.

Speaking at the conference, he said: "Considering his age, I think it is necessary to reduce his burden," the news agency quoted.

"It's important that people surrounding him think hard to help him. I'd like to do whatever I can that is helpful in this regard."

Crown Prince Naruhito temporarily took over from his father when the emperor entered Tokyo Hospital for the operation last Friday.

Following the successful surgery, the 78-year-old emperor was discharged from the intensive care unit two days afterwards and is expected to go home in the next week or two.

Naruhito will continue to oversee official duties while his father recuperates, something he had t do last year when his father was again hospitalised suffering from bronchial pneumonia.

Last year, the Crown Prince's young brother, Prince Akishino said he thought that Japan should consider setting a retirement age for the emperor.

Speaking while his father was being treated for pneumonia, Prince Akishino said he thought retirement would become a necessity eventually.

"When you pass a certain age, it gradually becomes difficult for people to do various things," the AFP quoted him as saying.

After having surgery for prostate cancer in 2003, attention has increasingly been focussed on the emperor's ill health and these recent comments from the Crown Prince are his first regarding his father's wellbeing.

During his birthday speech last year, Emperor Akihito praised the spirit of Japanese citizens in the face of adversity following the March earthquake and tsunami.