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Emperor Akihito back to work following illness

Emperor Akihito of Japan resumed his official duties on Thursday, 5th July, after three days of treatment for insufficient blood supply to the brain according to a palace spokesperson.

The 84-year-old had cancelled engagements from Monday 2nd July after the palace doctor diagnosed the Emperor with “symptoms of vertigo and nausea due to cerebral anemia, which require a complete rest and follow-up checks” the chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, announced at a regular press conference.

Cerebral anemia is a condition resulting from insufficient blood flow to the brain.

On Tuesday 3rd July, the palace said that the Emperorwas still suffering from vertigo and a stomach ache.

However, the following day, Wednesday 4th July, the palace reported that Akihito’s health was improving.

A palace spokesman told Agence France-Presse on Thursday that the monarch was “doing his official duties as usual,” declining to comment further.

Emperor Akihito has had previous health issues, having had surgery for prostate cancer in 2009 and heart surgery in 2012. The state of the monarch’s health is carefully watched by Japan.

In 2016 he shocked the country by announcing his desire to abdicate after almost three decades as Emperor, citing his age and health problems.

Akihito is set to retire on 30th April 2019 at the Imperial Palace, making him the first emperor in more than two centuries in the world’s oldest imperial family to do so

During his abdication ceremony Akihito will give a final address to the Japanese people before he is succeeded by his eldest son, 58-year-old Crown Prince Naruhito, who will ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne a day later on 1st May 2019.

The status of emperor is sensitive in Japan due to the legacy of the massive Pacific war waged in the name of Akihito’s father Hirohito, who died in 1989.

Previous emperors including Hirohito had been treated as semi-divine. However, Akihito has embraced the more modern role as a symbol of the state, which was imposed on the Japanese Imperial Family after the Second World War.