(AFP) – Feb 24, 2008
TOKYO (AFP) — Japan's Emperor Akihito has shown early signs that he may suffer the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis due to his therapy for prostrate cancer, reports said Monday.
The palace is considering reducing the 74-year-old's official duties or making other adjustments to his lifestyle to prevent his bones' deterioration, Jiji Press and other Japanese media said.
A regular health check on the emperor in January indicated that he would come down with the bone condition unless action is taken, the reports said, quoting unnamed officials at the Imperial Household Agency.
A palace spokesman declined comment on the reports.
Akihito underwent prostate cancer surgery in January 2003 and has received hormone therapy in connection with the disease.
However the emperor is believed to be generally healthy and keeps a schedule that includes regular travel in Japan and overseas.
Akihito assumed the throne after his father, Emperor Hirohito, died in 1989 at age 87. The next in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne is Crown Prince Naruhito, who turned 48 on Saturday.
Japan's emperor enjoys wide respect among the general public, although the post-World War II constitution bars him from holding any political role.
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