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Emperior Hirohito May Undergo Surgery

September 19, 1987

TOKYO (AP) _ Japan’s 86-year-old Emperor Hirohito is suffering from an intestinal disorder and may have to undergo surgery, the Imperial Household Agency said today.

An operation would almost certainly prevent the emperor from making a historic visit to Okinawa next month.

″We have to check some more to determine whether or not to send the emperor to the hospital and conduct an operation,″ the agency’s director- general, Tomohiko Tomita, said in a statement.

Agency Deputy Director-General Satoru Yamamoto told reporters that officials would decide Monday whether or not to hospitalize the emperor.

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hideo Watanabe said at a televised news conference that it was not yet clear whether Hirohito would need to be hospitalized. But he said the emperor’s condition would not affect the state and diplomatic duties of Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, who left Japan earlier today to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Imperial Household Agency officials were not available tonight. An agency spokesman, reached earlier by The Associated Press, refused to comment on the emperor’s condition, but said the emperor had cancelled a scheduled trip to a sumo wrestling match Sunday.

Hirohito has been plagued with occasional nausea since mid-August and was recently diagnosed by court physicians as having an intestinal disease, according to Kyodo News Service.

The emperor met with visiting Iceland President Vigdis Finnbogadttir at the Imperial Palace Friday morning for 30 minutes and attended a 45-minute lecture later that afternoon, Kyodo said.

It said Hirohito, a marine biologist, skipped his regular study at his private laboratory on the palace grounds Saturday.

On his birthday last April 29, the world’s longest-reigning monarch retired early from a banquet, complaining that he didn’t feel well. He did not attend a tea ceremony for the diplomatic corps later that day, but Imperial Household Agency officials denied that he was ill.

Hirohito is scheduled to make his first visit as emperor to Okinawa, Japan’s southernmost prefecture, on Oct. 23-27.

Okinawa was the scene of one of the fiercest battles of World War II, and the only one fought on Japanese territory during the war.

Huge civilian casualties were incurred, and numerous demonstrations were planned during Hirohito’s visit to protest his role in the war.

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