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Japanese emperor admitted to Tokyo hospital

Japanese Emperor Akihito, left, and Empress Michiko arrive by car at the University of Tokyo Hospital on Nov. 6, 2011. Emperor Akihito was admitted for treatment of bronchitis.
JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images
Japanese Emperor Akihito, left, and Empress Michiko arrive by car at the University of Tokyo Hospital on Nov. 6, 2011. Emperor Akihito was admitted for treatment of bronchitis.
JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images

(CBS) Japan's 77-year-old Emperor Akihito has been admitted to a hospital in Tokyo for treatment of a respiratory illness.

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According to the BBC, the increasingly frail ruler was taken by car to the University of Tokyo Hospital on Sunday evening as a precaution because of a fever and symptoms of bronchitis.

His oldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will temporarily take over the emperor's official duties.

The emperor, who turns 78 next month, has been on the throne since the 1989 death of his father, Hirohito. Emperor Akihito has cut back on public appearances for health reasons several times in the past few years. Just last week, it was announced that a Nov. 23 harvest ceremony would be shortened to ease the strain on Akihito.

Nevertheless, when an earthquake and tsunami destroyed towns in northern Japan in March, the emperor gave a rare public address and traveled to the affected areas to visit victims and survivors.