The 69-year-old royal, seen here at his birthday celebrations on December 23, will undergo an operation for prostate cancer in mid-January
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30 DECEMBER 2002
Japan's Emperor Akihito is scheduled to undergo surgery for prostate cancer after being diagnosed with the disease last week, an Imperial Household spokesperson revealed on Saturday.

"We have confirmed the existence of cancer cells in the prostate gland," said the medical director of the Imperial Household agency, Ichiro Kanazawa, during a Tokyo press conference. "The tumor is… relatively mild in nature."

Emperor Akihito will have the operation at the Tokyo University hospital in mid-January and will be required to remain hospitalised for about a month, added Kanazawa.

The 69-year-old royal will not be participating in traditional Shinto-based rites at the Imperial Palace during the New Year holidays. However, he will appear on the palace balcony to greet the public on January 2 and will attend an annual New Year's poetry reading as scheduled on January 15.

Akihito was kept in hospital overnight last Tuesday after a routine checkup led to the discovery of the disease.



        
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