Japanese emperor celebrates 20 years of enthronement

January 7th, 2009 - 12:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Tokyo, Jan 7 (DPA) Japanese emperor Akihito Wednesday marked the 20th anniversary of ascension to Japan’s throne by visiting his father’s grave in Tokyo.As Akihito’s reign began with his father’s death, Jan 7 also commemorates the 20th anniversary of the death of emperor Hirohito, who is referred to by his posthumous name Showa in Japan.

Akihito and his wife, empress Michiko, attended a ceremony at the grave of the late emperor in Hachioji, a city in the western party of Tokyo, along with about 80 people, including imperial family members and Prime Minister Taro Aso.

The 75-year old emperor, who has three children and four grandchildren, suffers from health problems such as stress-induced bleeding in the stomach in December, leading to a reduction of his official duties. He was treated for prostate cancer in 2003.

The Japanese government plans to hold an official ceremony to celebrate Akihito’s two decades on the throne in November.

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