Prince expects Emperor to ease up

Kyodo

Prince Akishino, the younger son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, has said the content of the Imperial family’s official events is likely to be changed to reduce the workload on his father, who underwent a heart operation this year.

The remarks relating to the 78-year-old Emperor were made at a news conference held together with Princess Kiko, the prince’s wife, prior to his 47th birthday Friday.

“We cannot take a request from one side and turn down a similar request from another,” Prince Akishino said about the official duties, indicating the quantity of duties cannot be reduced while maintaining fairness. He also said there are duties only the Emperor can perform.

On the Emperor’s decision to go through with heart bypass surgery in February, Prince Akishino said, “I assume he wanted to be fit enough to fulfill his official duties” following the massive earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in March last year.