Empress Emerita Michiko was admitted to the University of Tokyo Hospital on Saturday, ahead of her surgery for breast cancer slated for Sunday.
The 84-year-old former empress, who has been diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer with no clear signs of metastasis, will undergo the operation to remove cancerous tissue from her left breast from 10 a.m. Sunday.
Surgeons do not plan to remove the affected breast.
It will be the empress emerita’s first hospitalization since she was diagnosed with shingles in 1997.
She arrived by car at the front entrance of the hospital in Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward at around 10:15 a.m. Saturday, and was greeted by hospital director Yasuyuki Seto and others.
According to the Imperial Household Agency, the former empress’ husband, Emperor Emeritus Akihito, saw her off at the Fukiage residence inside the Imperial Palace, where the two currently reside. Akihito plans to visit the hospital on Sunday.
The surgery will be conducted by doctors from the Shizuoka Cancer Center’s breast surgery division and from the University of Tokyo Hospital’s breast and endocrine surgery division. The empress emerita will be placed under general anesthesia for the surgery. The full procedure is expected to take about four hours.
The former empress was found to have a mass in her left breast when she underwent a regular health checkup on July 12. It was confirmed as cancer at a relatively early stage in a tissue examination on Aug. 2.