Emperor Akihito is to undergo another heart exam next week, a palace official said Wednesday, amid increasing worries about the monarch’s health.
The angiogram of his coronary arteries, scheduled for Feb 11, comes after Akihito’s electrocardiogram showed a restricted blood flow to his heart.
The 78-year-old emperor went through the same test a year ago at the University of Tokyo hospital, which found his arteries were narrowing, leading to his being placed on medication, according to the palace official.
In November, Akihito was hospitalized for 19 days for mild pneumonia.
Akihito, who ascended to the throne in 1989 following the death of his father Hirohito, underwent surgery for prostate cancer in 2003.
Doctors had also previously found traces of bleeding in the emperor’s stomach, partly due to stress.
The emperor’s second son Prince Akishino in November suggested there should be a discussion about setting a retirement age for the titular head of state.
Despite being stripped of much of its mystique and its quasi-divine status in the aftermath of World War II, the Japanese throne is held in deep respect by much of the public.