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Tuesday, 6th January 2009
In General Japan News,

Sombre celebration for emperor's anniversary

Japan's monarch, Emperor Akihito, marks two decades on the throne today (January 6th).

The anniversary is likely to pass off quietly due to ill health among the royal family that many believe is the result of internal arguments.

Recently, the emperor cancelled his official duties, including his annual birthday news conference, after suffering from high blood pressure and internal bleeding, reports Reuters.

Shingo Haketa, the head of the Imperial Household Agency, commented: "Over the past few years, I have noticed that he constantly seems to be anxious about the various problems facing the imperial household, starting with the succession issue."

The monarch was reportedly angry about the abandonment of planned changes to Japan's male-only succession legislation.

Akihito is Japan's 125th reigning emperor. He represented Japan during the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Despite constitutional restrictions on his role, Akihito has made several statements expressing remorse for Japan's role in the Second World War.