Concern hung over Japan Tuesday as palace physicians failed to contain Emperor Hirohito's internal bleeding and the government said it had summoned the ailing 87-year-old monarch's grandson home from Britain.

Kenji Maeda, head of general affairs for the Imperial Palace, quoted chief palace physician Akira Takagi as saying: "The emperor's condition is stable, but it's not improving either. It's an extremely difficult situation."Maeda said doctors had found "slight traces" of blood in the emperor's bowel discharge the previous night, an indication of internal hemorrhaging.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Keizo Obuchi told a news conference that Prince Aya, the 22-year-old younger son of Crown Prince Akihito, would return to Japan shortly.

Japanese officials have refused to confirm or deny media reports that the world's longest-reigning monarch is dying of cancer.