Emperor Hirohito received his eighth blood transfusion in as many days Friday, and the U.S. military postponed a festival out of respect for the ailing 87-year-old monarch.
Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in Japan for meetings with government and business leaders, visited the Imperial Palace to express their wishes for the emperor's speedy recovery.Hirohito, the spiritual leader of the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II and the last of the major wartime figures, is believed to have abdominal cancer and has been in serious condition in his palace bed since he began internal bleeding Sept. 19.
The emperor discharged a small amount of blood this morning and was given a blood transfusion by 2 p.m., for the eighth day in a row. His fever increased about one degree to 99.8 F, the spokesman said.
The emperor has now received more than 8 pints of blood, equivalent to about 90 percent of his blood supply, in 11 days. Some medical experts have suggested the transfusions could be straining Hirohito's heart, kidneys and liver.
"The emperor has been our friend ever since I was president," Carter said on the steps of the palace. "We've been here to visit him and the family on several occasions. We come to express our sincere hope and prayers for the emperor's continued life and good health."
Carter did not see Hirohito, resting in his bedroom, but signed his name to a list of wellwishers in the palace lobby.
Hirohito's illness has brought to a halt dozens of festivals and all types of celebrations in Japan, from major parades in downtown Tokyo to private weddings, but the U.S. military's postponement of its festival was the first by the U.S. Forces in Japan.