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Japan Empress has intestinal bleeding

In this photo released by the Imperial Household Agency of Japan, Japanese Emperss Michiko, center, accompanied by Crown Prince Naruhito, right, speaks with Mongolian President Nambaryn Enkhbayar at the start of a luncheon at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2007. Michiko has been stricken with intestinal bleeding and other ailments apparently caused by stress, a news report said Tuesday, March 6, 2007. Michiko, 72, is suffering from bleeding from the walls of her intestines, nose bleeds and mouth ulcers, Kyodo News agency cited the Imperial Household Agency as saying. (AP Photo/The Imperial Household Agency of Japan, HO, FILE)

TOKYO --Japan's Empress Michiko is being treated for intestinal bleeding and other ailments apparently brought on by stress, and will take a break from her duties, a palace official said Tuesday.

Michiko, 72, is also suffering from nose bleeds and mouth ulcers, according to Yasuo Moriyama, a spokesman of the Imperial Household Agency.

The empress will take breaks from her official duties to recuperate, first for five days in Tokyo later this month and then for another five days at an imperial ranch in Takanezawa, north of the capital, Moriyama said.

She has not been feeling well since she caught a cold and suffered from a high fever in mid-February, Moriyama said.

The popular wife of Emperor Akihito, Michiko was the first commoner to marry into the world's oldest hereditary monarchy.

She has previously suffered from stress. In the early 1990s, she was unable to speak for months after suffering a nervous breakdown over unflattering stories in gossip-oriented magazines.

In September, she appeared radiant at the arrival of her first grandson, Prince Hisahito. The prince's birth to Michiko's second son, Prince Akishino, defused a looming succession crisis for the royal family, which had produced no male heir in four decades.

Michiko's daughter-in-law, Crown Princess Masako, is also recuperating from stress-induced health problems brought on by the pressures of palace life.