Emperor Akihito turns 79, expresses concern about aging Japan, elderly in disaster-hit areas

Japan's Emperor Akihito, celebrating his 79th birthday, says he's concerned about the country's aging population.

As he marked his birthday Sunday, Akihito sympathized with the elderly in the country's snowy northern region who are facing their second winter since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami devastated the area. Akihito and Empress Michiko spent nearly two months last year visiting disaster evacuees.

Akihito also said his recovery from heart bypass surgery last February has taught him that exercise is important for the elderly to stay fit.

He also acknowledged becoming more prone to tripping in recent years while hiking.