Emperor Akihito of Japan has been given a diagnosis of prostate cancer and will undergo an operation next month, the Imperial Household Agency said Saturday.
The diagnosis, which also determined that the cancer has not spread, was based on a checkup conducted last Tuesday after blood tests over the past three years showed worrisome figures, a spokesman for the agency said.
Akihito, who turned 69 on Monday, will stay in the hospital for about a month and will forego his official duties for an extended period after the operation in mid-January, the spokesman said.
Crown Prince Naruhito, 42, is likely to take over the emperor's official functions during that time, the spokesman added.
The emperor, who made his traditional birthday appearance before crowds of well-wishers last Monday, will greet the public again next week as usual when many Japanese citizens gather at the palace to offer New Year's greetings to the imperial family.