Japanese Emperor Akihito went into hospital ahead of a planned bypass operation.
The 78-year-old monarch was accompanied by the Emperess Michiko as he was admitted to the University of Tokyo Hospital before the operation scheduled for 18 February 2012.
The surgery was planned to take five hours, according to the Imperial Household. In the absence of any complications, the emperor should be free to return home in around two weeks' time.
Akihito was diagnosed last year with arteriosclerosis and stenosis, a narrowing of the blood vessels supplying the heart. An examination last week found a worsening of the stenosis.
He has suffered several health problems in recent years. In 2003, he underwent surgery for prostate cancer. Five years later, he was diagnosed with stomach bleeding, attributed in part to stress.
In November 2011, he was hospitalised for two weeks with bronchitis.
The emperor, who ascended to the throne in 1989, has worked to bring Japan's revered but traditionally distant royal household closer to its subjects.
(Sapa, February 2012)