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Asian RoyalsJapan

Crown Princess Kiko meets maternal mental health award recipients

By Antônio Cruz/Agência Brasília -, CC BY 3.0 br,

Crown Princess Kiko of Japan held a meeting with healthcare personnel who won an award for maternal mental health and child development services. 

On 19 April, the future Empress of Japan met with the winners of the Reiwa 2 award, given to 14 nurses, midwives, doctors and nursery teachers whose work gained recognition in their community. 

The ceremony was held at the Minato Ward of the Akasaka Higashi Residence, located in the Akasaka district of Tokyo, where the Crown Princess met with the winners and was told about their work in supporting pregnant women’s mental health and the health education of children of all school ages. 

This is a particularly important topic in the Japanese Imperial Family since it is widely acknowledged that Empress Masako suffered from severe depression, making mental health an important element of the work that the royals are carrying out. 

Japan is not the only country that has been devoting increasing amounts of resources and spotlight to the topic; many, if not all, European monarchies nowadays have supported or founded programmes that deal with maternal mental health and early childhood development. 

Crown Princess Kiko’s engagement came just one day before she and her husband began the final rituals to be officially appointed Crown Prince and Crown Princess. The rituals started on 20 April with a visit to three of Japan’s prefectures and will reach their apex with a ceremony on 26 April. 

Contrary to many western countries, Japan is still strictly enforcing health safety restrictions, which meant that Crown Princess Kiko and all of the other attendees to the award ceremony were wearing face masks, and that, to avoid crowd gatherings, their final investiture rituals will be held with strict health safety protocols in place and restricted access to outside personnel.