Japan Emperor calm about surgery

The Emperor, who will undergo coronary artery bypass surgery on Saturday, resumed his official duties Monday morning after calmly accepting his doctors' recommendation for the operation, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

Doctors examined the Emperor on Saturday and explained their diagnosis and treatment recommendation to him and the Empress.

The Emperor has expressed a strong desire to attend a memorial ceremony on the anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11. However, it is necessary to monitor his recovery before that decision is made, according to the agency.

On Monday morning, the Emperor and Empress met with ambassadors newly assigned to foreign capitals at the Imperial Palace.

"The operation is the most frequently conducted heart surgery in Japan," said University of Tokyo Hospital Prof. Ryozo Nagai, a cardiologist, who met the press at the agency on Sunday afternoon.

Nagai said the operation would take about 3-1/2 hours if everything goes well.

Medical Supervisor of the Imperial Household Ichiro Kanazawa talked about the Emperor's reaction when the Emperor and Empress received an explanation about the operation from four people, including Kanazawa and a heart surgeon.

"The Emperor calmly accepted the doctors' decision," Kanazawa said with a look of relief that the course of treatment had been decided.

The Emperor has been treated for angina with medication to prevent formation of blood clots and dilate his blood vessels.

It is also common to treat the kind of narrowing of the coronary arteries that the Emperor has with a wire mesh tube called a stent that opens the narrowed artery. The stent is put in place with a catheter.

But the Emperor's doctors decided a stent would not be appropriate in this case because of the location of the narrowing and the shape of his coronary artery.

Bypass surgery is generally physically more of a burden for a patient but normally restores circulation better.

The doctors also chose bypass surgery because it will allow the Emperor to maintain an ordinary lifestyle and because of his expressed enthusiasm for his official duties, the household agency said.