Wednesday 18 September 2019

Former Japanese empress leaves hospital after cancer surgery

Michiko is the first commoner to become empress in modern Japanese history.

Japan’s former Empress Michiko, who underwent successful surgery (Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool Photo via AP)
Japan’s former Empress Michiko, who underwent successful surgery (Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool Photo via AP)

By Yuri Kageyama, Associated Press

Former Japanese Empress Michiko has left hospital after undergoing breast cancer surgery.

Michiko was diagnosed with early stages of breast cancer in July.

The Imperial Household Agency says she had surgery on Sunday and went home on Tuesday.

The 84-year-old empress emeritus bowed to the staff at the University of Tokyo hospital as she left.

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Former empress Michiko bowed to hospital staff (Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool Photo via AP)

The agency says her cancer had not spread, but she will have check-ups to determine if further treatment is needed.

Michiko’s husband, Akihito, abdicated as emperor on April 30 and their son, Naruhito, became emperor the next day.

Michiko is the first commoner to become empress in modern Japanese history.

Akihito and Michiko have been popular with the Japanese public for breaking with traditions and bringing many changes to the monarchy.

They chose to raise their three children themselves, spoke more often to the public, and made amends for war victims in and outside Japan.

The emperor and empress have no formal political power and have only symbolic status.

PA Media

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