TOKYO – Japan’s emeritus emperor Akihito lost consciousness for a time, but a subsequent medical checkup did not reveal any abnormalities, the Imperial Household Agency said on Thursday.
According to the agency, Akihito briefly lost consciousness at his residence on Wednesday evening.
The sources added that emeritus empress Michiko, who was with him, called for a doctor who checked the unconscious emperor, who was breathing abnormally but recovered shortly thereafter.
Akihito spent the night resting and on Thursday morning, he went for an MRI and a thorough checkup, but no abnormalities were found.
Akihito, 86, stepped down as emperor of Japan on April 30, 2019 when he abdicated in favor of his son, Naruhito, who acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne the following day.
Akihito, who ascended to the throne on Jan. 7, 1989, announced on Aug. 8, 2016 that his advanced age and health problems were preventing him from fulfilling his duties.
Although there was no legal framework to allow for a living monarch to abdicate, his popularity triggered a wave of sympathy from the Japanese population, prompting the country’s parliament to pass a law permitting him to step down from the throne he had occupied since the death of his father Hirohito in 1989.
Since his abdication, Akihito has kept away from public activities, although on Jan. 2 he briefly appeared alongside Emperor Naruhito in the traditional New Year greeting from a balcony at the Imperial Palace.