Japan's Emperor Naruhito said that his wife, Empress Masako, "still has highs and lows" as she struggles to recover from a long-term stress-related illness related to her royal duties.
The health of Empress Masako, who was fit enough to attend all of the ceremonies of Emperor Naruhito when he was sworn in as Emperor last year, is an important issue in Japan.
Hopes were raised that she had recovered from her illness when she was present at a number of public events last year, but Emperor Naruhito warned the Empress that she was "still on the road to recovery".
"Her condition has its ups and downs and her tiredness tends to prolong after a big event or when events happen in succession," he told reporters at a press conference marking his 60th birthday.
"I want her never to expand too much, but to keep working on what she can do," he said, describing her as "a good advisor in both private and official matters."
Empress Masako, trained in Harvard and Oxford, left a promising diplomatic career to marry in 1993 to the royal family.
In 2004, the palace announced that she was being treated for a stress-related adjustment disorder, which forced her to skip some royal engagements.
The couple's only child, Aiko, 18, will study Japanese literature at Gakushuin University, whose graduate is Emperor Naruhito, from April.
She cannot succeed her father because only a male heir can climb the chrysanthemum throne.
Emperor Naruhito's younger brother Akishino takes first place on the throne. His son, 13-year-old Hisahito, is second.
Aiko would lose her royal status if she married a citizen.
This has increased the prospect of a succession crisis if Hisahito has no son, but the emperor refrains from commenting on the rule for men only.
He said he was talking to Akishino about the problem but didn't go any further.
A public gathering to celebrate his first birthday as emperor has been canceled as fears of the spread of the new corona virus spread across the country.
"I hope that the spread of infections will stop as soon as possible," he said, praying for the patient's recovery and thanking the doctors.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)