Japan's ailing Emperor Hirohito, still bleeding internally, had another blood transfusion today after asking how his rice plants are doing and sending greetings to his anxious subjects.
The 87-year-old emperor had already received five pints of blood since he collapsed Sept. 19 at the start of a nine-day-old fight for his life.
Court officials said he received the latest batch of blood in the afternoon and described him as in stable but critical condition.
Palace chief steward Shoichi Fujimori said the emperor expressed thanks for the outpouring of concern from his people.
"Thank you all so much for worrying about me. Please give (the people) my best regards," Hirohito was quoted as saying.
The emperor then asked about the condition of his rice plants in the palace garden and was relieved to hear they were doing well despite the persistent rainfall, Fujimori said.
One of Hirohito's official duties as the high priest of Shinto, Japan's native religion, is to perform rice-planting rituals every June.
Newspapers reported that the emperor, an accomplished marine biologist, also asked attendants which libraries and scientific institutions would receive his most recent research work. He has published several works on marine life.
Outside the palace, military veteran Shunsaku Morito, 73, waiting in the dripping rain to pray for Hirohito and sign a register wishing the emperor well, said: "Whenever I came back on leave during (World War II), I went to the palace gates to pay my respects to the emperor."