• Kyodo

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Crown Princess Masako took part Saturday in her first official duty outside Tokyo in seven months, attending a national greenery ceremony in Nagano Prefecture together with Crown Prince Naruhito.

Greeted with applause by some 1,300 people who gathered at the national park in Azumino, the 43-year-old Crown Princess, who has remained largely out of public view due to health problems, flashed a smile.

Her last official duty outside Tokyo was in October, in Nara Prefecture.

At Saturday’s ceremony designed to deepen people’s understanding of nature, the Crown Prince gave a speech in which he stressed the necessity to protect the environment as part of efforts to fight global warming.

The couple then planted cherry trees in the park.

The Crown Princess has performed few official duties since 2003. She was diagnosed in 2004 with adjustment disorder, a mental condition attributable in part to pressures from her life in the palace.

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