Emperor turns 79, concerned about aging Japan
Studies show that changes in lifestyle and lack of exercise have caused many elderly evacuees to fall ill or develop dementia. In the year following the disasters, the number of people in a dozen disaster-hit coastal towns certified as care recipients increased by 20 percent from the previous year, to more than 4,000, according to Iwate prefecture (state).
Akihito, a longtime tennis player, said he had trouble just running and hitting the ball when he returned to the sport after his surgery. Now, 10 months later, he can play nearly as well as he used to, he said.
He said he is so fit now that he is not considering reducing his public duties.
"I would like to maintain the status quo for the time being," he said.