In a statement released by the Imperial Household Agency, Crown Princess Masako, who turns 55-years-old today, has vowed to make her best effort to serve the people. She is set to become Empress of Japan following her father-in-law’s abdication next year.
“I want to devote myself to the happiness of the people so I will make an effort to that end while gaining more experience,” the Crown Princess declared. She added that she is “filled with deep emotions and feels nostalgic” about her birthday this year being the last one in the current Heisei era. The Heisei era will end when Emperor Akihito abdicates next year. Crown Princess Masako’s husband Crown Naruhito will succeed his father as Emperor.
Crown Princess Masako also expressed her gratitude to the Emperor and his wife, Empress Michiko, saying they “warmly welcomed me and generously continued guiding and watching over us” since her marriage to the Crown Prince. “I wish from the bottom of my heart (the Imperial Couple) will unwind from their busy life and spend peaceful days.”
The Crown Princess has been struggling with an adjustment disorder since 2003 and has been slowly improving. She attended the biannual Imperial garden party this year for the first time in 15 years. “I am delighted at the fact that I can perform more duties than before as I have tried to improve my physical condition,” she said.
Her doctors released a separate statement stressing that it is important that the Crown Princess continues to receive treatment as she remains vulnerable to fatigue. They seek the public’s understanding and support ahead of the important events surrounding the abdication next year.
As she looked back on the previous year, the Crown Princess said it felt “painful” that so many people lost their lives in natural disasters such as torrential rains in July and September’s earthquake in Hokkaido. About her only child, Aiko, Princess Toshi, who spent two weeks at Eton College last summer, she said, “We feel grateful that she has been given opportunities to broaden her perspectives.”