Press Release

The announcement by the Court Physician regarding the health of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress as They are about to embark upon Their visit to Canada and the United States of America (June 29, 2009)

As for His Majesty, the supraventricular arrhythmia announced on December 9, 2008, still occurs sporadically but the condition has more or less stabilized and recently there have been some indications of improvement. Since physical exercise is essential for the prevention of osteoporosis, such exercise is being continued by His Majesty, whenever His physical condition permits.

Her Majesty, while playing tennis in early February after being away from the game for a long time, tripped, hit Her left knee hard, and sustained an injury to the left posterior cruciate ligament, almost tearing the whole ligament. At that time, as the knee bone and meniscus were not damaged and Her Majesty did not complain of much pain except to say that Her left leg felt slightly unstable, we regret that we failed to suspect the ligament injury. As the pain became worse afterwards, a month or so after the injury, MRI was taken at Her Majesty's suggestion, in which the ligament injury was uncovered. This belated discovery may have resulted in the delay of Her recovery. At the advice of specialists, Her Majesty is now doing exercises and walking everyday as a part of Her rehabilitation program. As a result, the acute pain at the back of the knee, which She found rather hurting, has disappeared altogether. However, having pain for a long time has given rise to sciatica that triggers sharp pain at times in Her left leg, especially around the ankle. Occasionally, after being in sitting position for some time, it takes sometime for Her to start walking smoothly as initial few steps are painful. Also, She seems to have some difficulty in descending the stairs. However, She has no trouble in standing or walking for a length of time. In fact, we are asking Her Majesty to continue various exercises including walking as much as possible so that the muscle power She has lost during this period can be recovered.

As described above, Their Majesties are not necessarily in top form as far as Their health is concerned. However, there are no changes to the planned schedule during Their visit to Canada and the State of Hawaii in the United States of America. Still, it should be pointed out that, depending on the condition of Their Majesties, there may have to be modifications of Their schedules during the trip. It is to ensure understanding in such a case that we are issuing this update on the health of Their Majesties.

Medical Supervisor of the Imperial Household