Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko
What would the emperor of Japan do if he could shed his weighty crown for a day and roam freely among the common people?
Emperor Akihito, an avid scientist, said he sometimes wishes he had more time to do research or "to take long walks."
But, busy though his official duties may keep him, he said he does not spend much time thinking about being anything but what he is.
"There is nothing that comes to mind that I would like to hide my status to do," he said Monday in a news conference ahead of a trip to the Baltic states, Britain and Sweden.
Empress Michiko, meanwhile, admitted that she has sometimes wondered what it would be like to have a cloak of invisibility. She recalled that she once wanted to go to an art exhibit but had to stay at the palace because of concerns over crowd control.
"It might cause problems for the police," she said.
Japan's royal couple will take a 10-day trip to Sweden, Britain and the three Baltic countries.
On the last leg of their trip, Akihito and Michiko will go to London to meet Queen Elizabeth II.
Concerns had been raised that the 72-year-old empress might notbe up tothe trip. In March, she suffered bleeding from the walls of her intestines, nose bleeds and mouth ulcers. The palace said the illness was stress related. In the early 1990s, she was unable to speak for months after suffering anervous breakdown, reportedly over unflattering tabloid stories.
But Michiko said Monday she was fine.
"I have never had such an illness before, but I have gotten enough rest and I am recovered," she said.