New Japanese Empress will serve the people

Crown Princess Masako, who turned 55 on Sunday, vowed to make her best effort to serve for the people as she is set to become Japan’s empress after the imperial succession in May 2019.


In the statement released by the Imperial Household Agency, the crown princess said she is ”filled with deep emotions and feels nostalgic” about her birthday this year being the last one in the current Heisei era.


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The era will end after Emperor Akihito, 84, abdicates on April 30, the day before the enthronement of his eldest son Crown Prince Naruhito, 58. The emperor expressed his desire in August 2016 to step down due to his age and health.


The crown princess expressed her gratitude for the emperor and Empress Michiko, noting that the imperial couple ”warmly welcomed me and generously continued guiding and watching over us’ since her marriage to the crown prince was decided about 26 years ago.


The Harvard- and Oxford-educated former diplomat has been struggling with adjustment disorder since December 2003, but she has shown a signs of improvement. This year, she fully attended a biannual imperial garden party for the first time in 15 years.


But her doctors warned in a separate statement that it is important she continue receiving the same treatment as she remains vulnerable to fatigue especially after a large ceremony or successive duties.


Her medical team said her participation in a number of events this year added to her confidence but her physical condition became unstable at times. Noting that excessive expectations could pressure her, the team sought public understanding and support ahead of a spate of important events next year.


Looking back over the past year, the crown princess said it felt ”painful” that many people lost their lives in natural disasters such as torrential rains in western Japan in July and a powerful earthquake in Hokkaido in September.


Reference: Japan’s recuperating future empress vows to serve people


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