Crown Princess Masako, who has not performed any official duties since December as she is undergoing treatment for a stress-related disorder, left her residence for the first time in more than four months Saturday.
The 40-year-old princess and her husband, Crown Prince Naruhito, left the Togu Palace in Tokyo’s Moto-Akasaka district by car to visit Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace.
The four met for about an hour, according to Imperial Household Agency officials, who explained that the Crown Princess wished to convey her thanks for the repeated visits by the Emperor and Empress to wish her a speedy recovery.
She and the Crown Prince also wanted to wish the Emperor well, as he is currently continuing treatment for prostate cancer, the officials added.
The couple had wanted to bring along their 2-year-old daughter, Princess Aiko, but decided against it because she was not in the best of moods, according to the officials.
The Crown Princess has not taken part in any official functions since being hospitalized with shingles in December. She has been diagnosed as suffering from an adjustment disorder.
The last time the Crown Princess was seen outside her residence was in late April, when she and Princess Aiko returned to Tokyo from a roughly one-month convalescence in Nagano Prefecture. She had not visited the Imperial Palace since Jan. 8, when she and the Crown Prince had dinner with the Emperor and Empress.
As their motorcade passed through Hanzomon Gate to enter and leave the Imperial Palace, the Crown Princess lowered her window to smile and wave at well-wishers who had lined the street.
According to the Office of the Crown Prince’s Household, the visit to the Imperial Palace was “purely private and not any resumption of official duties” for the Crown Princess.
The officials added that doctors have said it will be difficult for the Crown Princess to resume formal duties this year.