Japan's Emperor Hirohito, bedridden with suspected abdominal cancer, began his 63rd year on the throne on Christmas Day in "extremely stable" condition, a palace spokesman said.

Crown Prince Akihito, first in line to the "Chrysanthemum Throne," and other family members attended a Shinto religious rite in the moated Imperial Palace, marking the anniversary of the death of Hirohito's father, Emperor Taisho, said the Imperial Household Agency that manages palace affairs.Hirohito, 87, ascended to the throne following Emperor Taisho's death on Christmas Day 1926.

"His Majesty did not discharge blood and no transfusion was administered," said spokesman Kenji Maeda. "His condition was extremely stable."

The monarch discharged a small amount of blood Saturday and received slightly less than a pint of blood, his first transfusion in three days.