• Kyodo


Crown Princess Masako is scheduled Wednesday to attend her first banquet at the Imperial Palace in 11 years — a dinner to welcome Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, the Imperial Household Agency said Monday.

The banquet will be hosted by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

The wife of Crown Prince Naruhito last attended a banquet at the palace in October 2003 to welcome Mexican President Vicente Fox and his wife.

Princess Nobuko, the widow of Prince Tomohito of Mikasa, will likewise attend the banquet, the agency said, also her first such appearance in 11 years. She resumed official activities last fall after undergoing treatment for various medical conditions, including asthma.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima are scheduled to visit Japan from Tuesday through Sunday.

The agency said Crown Princess Masako is also expected to participate in a welcoming ceremony Wednesday morning at the palace, her first in five years, and to take part in discussions after a lunch Thursday at the residence of the Emperor and Empress.

Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako are said to have warm relations with the Dutch king and queen. King Willem-Alexander’s coronation in Amsterdam last April was the Crown Princess’ first overseas engagement in around 11 years.

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