TOKYO (AP, AFP) - Former Japanese Empress Michiko has left the hospital after undergoing breast cancer surgery.
Michiko was diagnosed with early stages of breast cancer in July. The Imperial Household Agency said she had surgery on Sunday (Sept 8) and went home on Tuesday.
The 84-year-old empress emeritus bowed to the staff at the University of Tokyo hospital as she left.
The agency says her cancer had not spread, but she will have check-ups to determine if further treatment is needed.
Michiko's husband, Akihito, abdicated as emperor on April 30 and their son, Naruhito, became emperor the next day.
Akihito and Michiko are known for dramatically modernising the tradition-bound monarchy, bringing themselves closer to the public and boosting popular support for the household.
The first commoner to marry an imperial heir, Michiko was born in 1934 in Tokyo and attended the exclusive all-girls Christian Sacred Heart School before studying English literature at its university.
She gave birth to Naruhito in 1960 and her second son, Prince Akishino, was born in 1965.
Michiko and her husband also came to be known for their presence at the side of survivors of disasters, especially after the 2011 tsunami that wrecked large parts of eastern Japan.