• Kyodo

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Preparations are underway for Crown Princess Masako to attend an Imperial garden party next week for the first time in 12 years, the Imperial Household Agency said Friday.

If her attendance at the autumn party, at the Akasaka Imperial Garden in Tokyo, on Thursday is realized, it would be the first time since the agency announced in December 2003 that she would take a leave from official duties due to a stress-induced illness.

Kyoji Komachi, grand master of the Crown Prince’s Household, said Princess Masako would attend a portion of the biannual party only if her health condition allowed.

Her attendance would be limited to the opening ceremony. It is not planned for her to attend the part of the event where Imperial family members greet guests, according to the agency.

Crown Princess Masako has been carrying out more official duties lately, such as traveling 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 2011 quake-tsunami disaster, and later traveled to Kagoshima Prefecture and stayed overnight to attend an opening ceremony of the 30th citizens’ cultural festival.

Princess Masako last attended an Imperial garden party in October 2003.

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