Emperor Akihito turns 79, reflects on “difficult” year

7 years ago by in Featured, Japan

akihitoJapanese Emperor Akihito turned 79 on Sunday and took the opportunity to address thousands of well-wishers, to reassure them that his health is better after a heart by-pass surgery.

“In February, I had heart surgery and worried many people,” Akihito said. “Please remain assured that I am now living normally like before”.

The emperor suffered heart surgery on February 18, after tests revealed a narrowing of two of his coronary arteries. In 2003, he had been treated for prostate cancer.

In his birthday address, Akihito also spoke about last year’s natural catastrophe, saying that his thoughts were with those who have be unable to return to their homes since the March 2011 disaster.

He said that the year 2012 was a “difficult” one and that he plans to spend his time “praying for the happiness of all of the Japanese public, particularly those who were affected by the disaster”.