Prince says his wife is trying hard to adapt

Crown Prince Naruhito suggested Tuesday that his wife, Crown Princess Masako, has had to make great efforts to adapt to the traditions and rituals of the Imperial family.

In a statement issued to the public to explain what he meant in unusually candid remarks in May about his wife, the Crown Prince also said the Crown Princess strongly hopes to resume her official duties after regaining her health.

“What I want to tell everyone, above all, is that Masako earnestly wishes to resume official duties after regaining her vigor and physical energy and becoming her normal healthy self,” the Crown Prince said.

“I intend to fully support Masako so that she will quickly regain her health and be able to resume” her duties.

The Crown Prince said he did not intend to criticize any specific moves by the royal family or the Imperial Household Agency.

He also said he “suffers heartache” for causing Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko to worry about the remarks.

The statement was released by Imperial Household Agency chief Toshio Yuasa after a 40-minute meeting between the Crown Prince and Yuasa.

During the meeting, the Crown Prince said he wants to discuss in full with agency officials how his wife can return to official duty, according to Yuasa.

Before leaving on a recent European tour, the Prince told a news conference May 10, “It is true that there were developments that denied Masako’s career as a diplomat as well as her personality.”

He made the remarks when asked to comment on the Crown Princess, who could not accompany him on the trip due to health problems.

After the Crown Prince went on the European tour, a senior official of the agency quoted the Emperor and Empress as saying the statement had a great social impact and that the public may be worried unless the Crown Prince himself explained what he meant.

In the Tuesday statement, the Crown Prince said he would not explain further what “developments” he was specifically referring to, noting, “I do not think it is good to publicly disclose” what was meant.

“What I wanted to convey to everyone at the news conference was about the situation that we have been facing and about the future,” the Crown Prince said in the document.

The Crown Prince said the efforts that his wife has had to make in her position as Crown Princess included the issue of bearing an heir to the throne, getting used to Imperial traditions and rituals, as well as facing the media.

The couple’s only child, Princess Aiko, was born in 2001 — eight years after their marriage. The Imperial household law allows only male heirs to succeed to the throne.