Crown Princess turns 52, calls year time to weigh ‘preciousness of peace’


Crown Princess Masako on the occasion of her 52nd birthday on Wednesday looked back on this year, which marked the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, calling it “an important year to think about the preciousness of peace.”

“Taking care of my health, I have tried to fulfill my public and private duties as much as possible this year,” the Crown Princess, who has been receiving treatment for a stress-induced illness for 12 years, said in a statement released by the Imperial Household Agency.

“With the help of people around me, I would like to continue making efforts to recover.”

In a separate statement, a medical team for the Crown Princess said she has made various efforts to be physically fit and increase her engagement in official duties. Such progress should give her more confidence in carrying out her duties, it said.

Crown Princess Masako traveled in July to the South Pacific nation of Tonga with Crown Prince Naruhito to attend the coronation of the country’s new king.

In October, the couple made a day trip to Fukushima Prefecture to observe its recovery from the massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami, before traveling later in the month to Kagoshima Prefecture, where they stayed overnight to attend an opening ceremony for a cultural festival.

Last month, she took part in a biannual garden party hosted by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko for the first time since 2003, talking with some guests.

“Although Crown Princess Masako is making a steady recovery, there are still ups and downs in her health,” the team said, asking the public not to expect too much of her.

She attended a total of 52 events at the Crown Prince’s Palace where she lives, including meetings with ambassadors to be dispatched overseas, sharply up from around 30 over recent years, according to the Crown Prince’s Household.

The Crown Princess also expressed her hope that her 14-year-old daughter, Princess Aiko, will have a fulfilling life in Gakushuin Girl’s Junior High School. The couple’s only child was sometimes absent from class during her elementary school days.

A person close to the Crown Princess attributed her recovering health to fewer worries over Princess Aiko’s school life.