Empress close by if husband fell

Kyodo

Empress Michiko wore a kimono at last Sunday’s ceremony marking the first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake so she could move easily to support ailing Emperor Akihito if he appeared about to topple over, a senior Imperial Household Agency official said Thursday.

The 78-year-old Emperor, who had been discharged from a hospital just a week earlier after undergoing a heart bypass Feb. 18, walked slowly on the stage at the National Theater in Tokyo and, with his wife at his side, gave a speech at the government-organized event without any problems.

But since there were concerns that the Emperor had not recovered sufficiently, the official told the 77-year-old Empress beforehand that if he were to fall, there was “no choice but for the person closest to him to support him.”