Emperor plays tennis for first time since heart surgery

Kyodo

Emperor Akihito played tennis Sunday and Monday for the first time since undergoing heart bypass surgery in February, Imperial Household Agency sources said Tuesday.

The 78-year-old Emperor played tennis and table tennis with Empress Michiko on Sunday, and played tennis again with her and agency officials Monday at the Imperial Palace, according to the sources.

He refrained from heavy exercise and played for about 10 minutes each time, the sources said.

When he was discharged from the hospital in March, doctors said it would take about three to four months for the Emperor to play tennis again, but physical checks conducted Friday came out with a favorable result and he got the green light earlier than expected.

The Emperor resumed his official duties on April 10.