Japan's Emperor Emeritus Akihito Is Recovering From Heart Failure

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Photo credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI - Getty Images
Photo credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI - Getty Images

Japan's former emperor Akihito has been diagnosed with heart failure, according to the Imperial Household Agency; however, his condition has reportedly improved after receiving treatment.

The diagnosis was made last month during an unrelated health checkup, and confirmed this past weekend at the University of Tokyo Hospital, where he underwent a MRI scan and doctors found a faulty valve in his heart.

"Currently he is living life as usual," a representative of Imperial Household Agency said, according to Japan Times, and he will continue to receive treatment at home.

In 2012, Akihito was diagnosed with angina, chest pain caused by one's heart not receiving enough blood flow, and underwent a heart bypass operation. In addition, in 2020, he suffered temporary cerebral anaemia. Yet, doctors say there's no link between his previous heart operation and his current condition.

Akihito abdicated from the Japanese throne in April 2019, becoming the first Japanese monarch to abdicate the Chrysanthemum Throne in two centuries. His son, Emperor Naruhito, succeeded him.

He was given permission by the government to abdicate because he said he felt unable to fulfill his role due to his age and declining health.

"As I am now more than 80 years old and there are times when I feel various constraints such as in my physical fitness, in the last few years I have started to reflect on my years as the Emperor, and contemplate on my role and my duties as the Emperor in the days to come," he said in a speech in 2016, three years before he abdicated.

The monarch continued, "After my two surgeries that I began to feel a decline in my fitness level because of my advancing age, and I started to think about the pending future, how I should conduct myself should it become difficult for me to carry out my heavy duties in the way I have been doing, and what would be best for the country, for the people, and also for the Imperial Family members who will follow after me."

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