Tokyo, Oct. 20 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Empress Emerita Michiko, wife of Emperor Emeritus Akihito, turned 87 on Wednesday.
She continued to avoid outings and refrain from inviting guests in the last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, spending peaceful days with the Emperor Emeritus at their Sento Kari Gosho temporary Imperial residence in Tokyo, according to the Imperial Household Agency.
The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer have been a good memory for the Empress Emerita, who often talks about the event with the 87-year-old Emperor Emeritus during morning and evening walks and with her aides.
The couple also recalled memories of foreign royals who visited Japan for the previous Tokyo Games in 1964.
The Empress Emerita has watched closely news reports on natural disasters, including a deadly mudslide in Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, in July.
She seems to be relieved that reconstruction is progressing gradually in areas hit by the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident, according to the agency.
Empress Emerita Michiko has heard in news reports that experimental rice farming began in a town near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, and that the turf at a soccer venue for the 2020 Games was grown in the tsunami-hit prefecture of Miyagi.
Suffering a fever in afternoons since May last year, the Empress Emerita saw her brain natriuretic peptide, an indicator to assess the possibility of heart failure, rise as high as levels recorded after she underwent breast cancer surgery in September 2019.
On the other hand, there has been a moderate improvement in stiffness in her fingers that was apparently caused by hormone therapy administered after the surgery. Thanks to the improvement, she has gradually been able to play the piano again.
The couple have continued to read books aloud after breakfast.
Referring to Princess Mako, an aide said the Empress Emerita has always been fond of the niece and seems to be sad about the princess leaving the Imperial Family upon her marriage scheduled for Tuesday.