TOKYO - The Japanese emperor canceled his engagements due to health problems for the second time in 2017, a spokesperson of the Imperial Palace told EFE Tuesday, amid ongoing discussion about his abdication.
Akihito, 83, has been absent from his engagements since Monday afternoon due to symptoms of fever, a cold and cough, although he is getting better, the spokesperson said.
The emperor was scheduled Tuesday to receive soldiers being honored by the government, but the event was attended by his son Crown Prince Naruhito instead.
Akihito also missed a meeting with a group of volunteers in charge of cleaning the palace, and was replaced by his wife Empress Michiko.
The emperor previously canceled several other commitments in late January due to a fever.
The royal couple also called off a three-day visit to the city of Nikko during May 17-19 as a precautionary measure, the spokesperson said.
However, the palace added that the couple will attend the 2017 Pritzker Architecture Prize ceremony, taking place in Tokyo on May 20.
In August 2016, Akihito expressed the desire to abdicate the throne, citing his age and poor health.
A government panel has proposed to devise special legislation for the abdication, without amending the 1947 law which has no provision for a ruling emperor to abdicate.
The Japanese monarch has been in ill health for several years.
In 2003, he was treated for prostate cancer, and in 2012, he underwent coronary bypass surgery.