- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2007

12:16 p.m.

TOKYO (AP) - Japan’s Empress Michiko is being treated for intestinal bleeding and other ailments apparently brought on by stress and will take a break from her duties, a palace official said today.

Empress Michiko, 72, is also suffering from nosebleeds and mouth ulcers, according to Yasuo Moriyama, a spokesman of the Imperial Household Agency.

The empress will take breaks from her official duties to recuperate, first for five days in Tokyo later this month and then for another five days at an imperial ranch in Takanezawa, north of the capital, Mr. Moriyama said.

She has not been feeling well since she caught a cold and suffered from a high fever in mid-February, Mr. Moriyama said.

The popular wife of Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko was the first commoner to marry into the world’s oldest hereditary monarchy.

She has suffered previously from stress. In the early 1990s, she was unable to speak for months after suffering a nervous breakdown over unflattering stories in gossip-oriented magazines.

In September, she appeared radiant at the arrival of her first grandson, Prince Hisahito. The prince’s birth to her second son, Prince Akishino, defused a looming succession crisis for the royal family, which had produced no male heir.

Empress Michiko’s daughter-in-law, Crown Princess Masako, is also recuperating from stress-induced health problems brought on by the pressures of palace life.

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