Japanese Emperor Akihito has turned 79 and reassured thousands of well-wishers that he is in good health, following his heart bypass surgery last February.
The Emperor gave a birthday address from the balcony of the Imperial Palace as crowds braved the cold to offer their congratulations.
“I will continue to keep the survivors of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in my thoughts as well as pray for the happiness of all Japanese citizens,” he said.
In the year following the earthquake/tsunami strike of 2011 studies show that changes in lifestyle and a lack of exercise have seen older evacuees fall ill or develop dementia.
Emperor Akihito sympathised with Japan’s rapidly aging population and urged them to take up exercise and said how much he benefited from his morning walks.