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Crown Princess Masako cancels Japanese National Sports Festival appearance

Due to excessive fatigue making her incapable of the visit, Crown Princess Masako of Japan will no longer be attending the Japanese National Sports Festival being hosted in the Iwate Prefecture, the Imperial Household Agency confirmed Thursday.

The 52-year-old consort of Crown Prince Naruhito, the heir apparent to the Japanese monarchy, has reported that she is too tired to travel. She has cancelled a planned several-night stay within a local area, reportedly Her Imperial Highness’s first in nine years. During her visit to the Iwate Prefecture, she was to attend the opening ceremony for the Japanese National Sports Events festival for disabled participants alongside her husband. While Her Imperial Highness has withdrawn from the visit, Crown Prince Naruhito is still expected to attend without her. Instead, Her Imperial Highness will spend time at home to recover.

According to the Imperial Household Agency, the current bout of fatigue has been caused by the Crown Princess’s care of her only child, Princess Aiko, who has likewise been suffering from stresses involving her schoolwork, on top of her usual duties and obligations as Crown Princess. Princess Aiko has been missing school since 26th September, due to exam fatigue and the pressures of preparation for a sports festival at her school. She attends the Gakushuin Girl’s Junior High School, and in November 2010, she was hospitalised with pneumonia.

Both Crown Princess Masako and Princess Aiko have been suffering from the pressures of office for many years. Crown Princess Masako has been receiving treatment for such stresses since 2003. These were supposedly caused by anxiety after failing to produce the male heir required by Japanese succession laws. The matter of a lack of a male heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne was resolved upon the birth of her nephew, Prince Hisahito of Akashino, in 2006.

Since she started recovery, her illnesses have forced her to miss many public engagements undertaken by her husband, including a trip to Spain in 2008, and again in 2013. However, she was able to attend the ascension of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands following the abdication of his mother in 2013. Moreover, she attended a state visit to the Kingdom of Tonga last year to attend the coronation of King Tupou VI, where reporters noted her looking happy and relaxed as she was welcomed by the island nation.

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