Princess Aiko Goes to School For 1st Time Since Late Sept

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TOKYO — Princess Aiko, the only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, went to school Tuesday after being absent for a month and a half due to health reasons, the Imperial Household Agency said.

The 14-year-old princess went to Gakushuin Girls’ Junior High School in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward on Tuesday afternoon after being absent since Sept. 26, the agency said. Her absence has been attributed by the agency to various causes including “fatigue from preparations for exams shortly after the summer vacation and for the school’s athletic meet.”

According to agency officials in charge of the crown prince’s household, Princess Aiko attended her sixth-period class. She made her return to school after discussing the matter with her parents and the family’s physician.

She is expected to continue attending school on Wednesday and onward, the officials said. The princess is not heir to the Chrysanthemum throne since only a man can hold the position.

In addition to fatigue, officials said she has been suffering a weak stomach and grogginess.

Crown Princess Masako took her on Oct 6 to the hospital of the Imperial Household, where no particular health problem was found as a result of a check.

In late October, Nobutake Odano, grand master of the crown prince’s household, spoke about Princess Aiko’s condition in a press conference, saying that she “takes a walk in the garden when she feels well, and she does not have to keep to her bed all day long.”

He said, however, it might “take some more time for recovery.”
The young princess spent a busy summer vacation, traveling with her parents who attended a “Water Day” ceremony in Tokyo on Aug 1 and a “Mountain Day” event in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture in central Japan on Aug 11.

Crown Princess Masako canceled a plan to travel with Crown Prince Naruhito for three days in late October to participate in a ceremony in Iwate Prefecture in northeastern Japan due partly to weariness after taking care of her daughter.

The teenage princess had a history of being occasionally absent from class when she was in the second to fourth years of primary school due to anxieties about going to school. Her prolonged absence from the junior high school has sparked concerns and speculation among the public.

The Shukan Shincho weekly magazine reported that she might be suffering from anorexia, quoting an unnamed journalist covering the imperial family as saying that Princess Aiko has lost a lot of weight since this summer.

Her mother, the 52-year-old crown princess, has been receiving treatment for adjustment disorder, a stress-induced illness, for over a decade.


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