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Wednesday, 6th June 2012
In General Japan News,

Japan's Prince Tomohito of Mikasa loses fight with cancer

Prince Tomohito of Mikasa, a member of Japan's Imperial family and sixth in line to the throne, has lost a long battle with cancer at the age of 66.

His death was confirmed by the Imperial Household Agency, the Japan Times reported.

The prince, who has been in hospital since December last year, had undergone 16 operations in his fight against throat and tongue cancer since being diagnosed with the disease.

Known as 'the Bearded Prince', he wrote a biography describing his fight against the disease in 1991 titled 'Talking About Cancer' and held various positions in the public spotlight.

This included his role as president of the Social Welfare Organisation Saiseikai Imperial Gift Foundation.

Chief cabinet secretary Osamu Fujimura was one of the first to express his sadness over the prince's death.

"I'm filled with a deep sense of sorrow," the news provider quoted him as saying. "I'd like to offer my sincere condolences for him."

The prince was no stranger to controversy and famously asserted his belief that female members of the Imperial family should not be allowed to take the throne to preserve the male line of succession.

He was also open and honest about his alcohol problems and admitted to fighting alcoholism.

Earlier this year, the prince's cousin Emperor Akihito underwent successful heart bypass surgery at the University of Tokyo Hospital.

Written by Graham McPherson