Human Interest

Japan’s Emperor Emeritus Akihito turns 89 in his ‘peaceful’ retirement

Tokyo, Dec 23 (EFE).- Japanese Emperor Emeritus Akihito turned 89 Friday, after a “quiet and peaceful” year in retirement with his wife, Empress Emeritus Michiko, in which he has continued his research on goby fish.

Akihito’s physical condition has improved since he began receiving treatment for heart failure in the middle of this year, the Imperial Household Agency said in a statement on the occasion of his anniversary, and the post-operative period for cataract operations is also going well, to which he underwent in previous months.

His daily routine includes morning and evening walks with his wife in the gardens of his residence, as well as frequent reading.

A taxonomy expert specializing in goby fish, Akihito visits a biology institute inside the imperial palace twice a week, examining specimens under a microscope, reviewing articles on the subject, and whenever possible attending bimonthly online meetings of the Fish Taxonomic Society.

Apart from visits to the hospital and the imperial palace, the Covid-19 pandemic has greatly limited the emperor emeritus’ outings, which were limited this year to two exhibitions on the 50th anniversary of the return of Okinawa to Japan after the US occupation, and a posthumous exhibition on his uncle Prince Mikasa.

Akihito keeps up to date on current affairs by reading newspapers and watching television and recently, the participation of the Japanese soccer team in the World Cup held in Qatar was a recurring topic in his conversations, the agency said.

After dinner, they said he sometimes reminisces about his past travels around Japan and the world as he flips through records, and this year in particular, with the death of Queen Elizabeth II present, he reflected on his memories of visits to the United Kingdom.

Akihito abdicated in favor of his eldest son, Naruhito, on Apr. 30, 2019 out of concern for his health, becoming the first Japanese emperor to relinquish the throne in some 200 years. EFE


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