Ailing Emperor Hirohito, bedridden in the Imperial Palace with suspected abdominal cancer for 24 days, remained in serious but stable condition early Wednesday amid reports that he is fast losing his physical strength.

Palace spokesman Kenji Maeda said the 87-year-old Hirohito slept well Tuesday night without internal bleeding and remained in stable condition at 9 a.m.Maeda said Hirohito's vital signs, including his temperature, pulse rate and blood pressure, have returned to normal levels.

"Frankly speaking, it would not be easy for him to restore his physical strength because of his advanced age," Maeda told a morning news conference.

Hirohito discharged "a small amount of blood" for the first time in six days Tuesday afternoon and received a transfusion of about a pint or 400 cubic centimeters of blood without white cells, Maeda said.

Hirohito has now received more than 14 pints of blood transfusions, more than his normal blood supply, since he fell ill Sept. 19. He has been under intensive care in his bedroom for 24 days.