Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will attend a memorial service on Sunday for victims of last year’s March 11 disaster, the Imperial Household Agency said Friday.
The emperor, 78, was discharged from hospital last Sunday after undergoing heart bypass surgery on Feb 18. He had treatment to remove fluid from his chest on Wednesday after becoming short of breath while walking and not showing much appetite. He has since been walking and doing deep breathing exercises as part of his rehabilitation.
Doctors had advised the emperor to spend March recuperating and not carry out any official duties, but the emperor expressed a strong wish to attend the ceremony, the palace said, according to NHK.
The emperor and empress will only spend 20 minutes at the memorial to be held Sunday afternon at the National Theater in Tokyo. The emperor will give a short speech after a minute of silence is observed at 2:46 p.m.
Following the catastrophe in Tohoku, the emperor and empress traveled over 10,000 kilometers visiting shelters and consoling disaster victims last year.