Japan's Emperor Undergoes Heart Bypass Surgery

Published February 18, 2012 2:45AM (EST)

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Emperor Akihito is undergoing scheduled heart bypass surgery.

The Imperial Household Agency said Saturday that Akihito had entered an operation room at the University of Tokyo Hospital. A medical team from the hospital, joined by another team from Juntendo University Hospital, were operating on the 78-year-old emperor.

The palace said the operation would take about five hours. It was scheduled after tests last weekend showed that Akihito's heart condition had worsened compared to a year ago.

The palace said the surgery would help the emperor enjoy a relatively active life.

Akihito has had various health problems in recent years, including pneumonia and prostate cancer. He has cut back on public duties but still appears regularly at events.

By Salon Staff

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