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Ailing Emperor Would Object to Cancellations, His Son Says

October 8, 1988

TOKYO (AP) _ The son of Emperor Hirohito discouraged people today from canceling public events in deference to his ailing father, news reports said.

″We appreciate the people’s warm consideration very much, but if it affects their daily lives, I’m afraid it would not make the emperor happy,″ Crown Prince Akhito was quoted as saying.

Akihito’s remarks, quoted by the domestic Kyodo News Service, underscored the worry of many Japanese over the proper way to act during their monarch’s illness.

Hirohito, the world’s longest reigning monarch, has been bedridden since Sept. 19, when he vomited blood from intestinal homorrhaging. Domestic news media have said he has cancer, but officials have declined to comment on the reports.

The 87-year-old monarch remained in stable condition today, officials at the Imperial Palace said. His temperature fell to 98 degrees from 99.5 the previous night, and a new antibiotic to treat his inflamed bile duct was apparently working, they said.

His normal temperature is said to be about 96, but today’s reading was the lowest since last weekend.

Scores of festivals, events and even official state visits by foreign dignitaries have been canceled since he fell ill.

A government spokesman said earlier that the wave of cancellations would disappoint Hirohito and could hurt social and economic activity.

Palace officials have not said exactly what Hirohito knows about how Japanese are reacting to his illness.

Hirohito, who has reigned since 1926, remains a symbol of the Japanese state with only ceremonial duties.

Update hourly