Japanese Emperor Akihito diagnosed with influenza

Japan's Emperor Akihito waves to students (not pictured) holding Philippine and Japanese flags, as the motorcade of the Emperor passes by in Intramuros, Manila, January 28, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Emperor Akihito, 82, has been diagnosed with influenza after suffering a fever over the weekend, the Imperial Household Agency said on Monday, without giving further details.

Akihito will rest at his residence in the Imperial Palace, Kyodo news agency reported.

Born in 1933, Akihito was heir to Emperor Hirohito, in whose name Japan fought World War Two. His heir is Crown Prince Naruhito, age 56.

The soft-spoken Akihito has often urged Japan not to forget the suffering of the war and has tried to promote reconciliation with Asian countries.

Last August, Akihito marked the 70th anniversary of the conflict’s end with an expression of “deep remorse”, a departure from his annual script which some saw as a subtle rebuke of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has sought to adopt a less apologetic tone.

Akihito was also the first royal heir to marry a commoner, Empress Michiko, now 81, and his efforts to draw the imperial family closer to the people in image, if not in fact, played into a carefully crafted picture of a “middle-class monarchy” that has helped shield it from the harsh criticism suffered by flashier royals abroad.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko, Linda Sieg; Editing by Joseph Radford