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Japan emperor turns 77,hopes for ‘elderly-friendly’ society

The emperor said the more he ages the more he understands the needs of the elderly.

Written by Agencies | Tokyo |
December 24, 2010 11:52:55 am

Emperor Akihito,on the occasion of his 77th birthday,reflected on the past year and said as he grows more aware of the symptoms of aging,he hopes that society will become more attuned to the needs of the elderly.

”It is my sincere hope there will be further understanding of the needs of the elderly and that more and more attention will be paid to making buildings and towns better equipped to serve the needs of the elderly,” the emperor said at the customary pre-birthday news conference held Monday.

The emperor admitted he has developed hearing difficulties and said,”I can understand what the announcers are saying,but when it comes to listening to other people’s conversations on TV,I find myself often relying on subtitles.”

The emperor,who climbed Mt. Sekison in Nagano Prefecture with Prince Akishino’s family in the summer,said he was sometimes helped by the prince and his daughter Princess Mako on his way down the mountain,which has never happened before.

The emperor has experienced some health problems this year,including a case of norovirus-induced acute enteritis in February and a cold in June,leading to the cancellation or postponement of his official duties.

However,the emperor stressed that he is ”not planning on making any more major reductions” to his work load,which had been cut back in consideration of his health.

The emperor also said he and Empress Michiko are ”worried” about Princess Aiko,the only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako,who has been attending a limited number of classes since missing several days of school due to the ”rough behavior” in March of boys in her grade.

While their opportunities to see Princess Aiko have been limited,the emperor said whenever the princess visits them she ”expresses her love for the empress” by presenting flowers picked from her garden and by showing a video of her cat on her camera.

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