Japan emperor in hospital for heart tests

TOKYO, Feb 11, 2011 (AFP) - Japan's Emperor Akihito was hospitalised Friday for heart tests, the imperial household agency said.

The 77-year-old monarch was to spend the night at the University of Tokyo Hospital for observation after an angiogram of his coronary arteries, the agency said.

Doctors ordered the test after a routine checkup in January revealed symptoms of insufficient blood flow to the heart.

Empress Michiko, 76, accompanied her husband to the hospital in central Tokyo, but was due to return to the Imperial Palace later Friday.

Akihito, who acceded to the throne in 1989 following the death of his father Emperor Hirohito, underwent surgery to remove prostate cancer in 2003.

As the titular head of state in Japan, he plays a largely ceremonial role but is held in deep respect by many Japanese.

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