Tokyo, March 17 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s Princess Aiko expressed her determination to perform her duties as a member of the Imperial Family in her first-ever press conference on Thursday.
The princess, the only child of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, turned 20 last December.
At the outset of the 30-minute news conference, held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, the Princess offered “heartfelt sympathies” to the bereaved families of victims in a series of powerful earthquakes that hit hard northeastern Japan on Wednesday night as well as quake-afflicted people.
Then she noted that she was not able to come of age without her experiences “made possible by the support and cooperation of many people” and that she “became aware of being an adult member of the Imperial Family” after attending New Year’s events.
Commenting on her thoughts about being a member of the family, the Princess said: “The basic and most important spirit is to always wish for the happiness of the people, and to fulfill one’s duties while sharing hardships and joys with them. I believe continuing to care for people affected by disasters is one (of concrete forms of the spirit).”
To the Empress, who told a press conference in 2002, when she was Crown Princess, that she thanked the daughter for being born into the world, Princess Aiko said, “I want to thank for giving birth to me.”
As for the ongoing Russian aggression in Ukraine, the Princess said she was “very saddened by the loss of many precious lives” and called for a peaceful world in which people respect each other. In her junior high school graduation essay, she wrote about her wish for peace along with her impressions of a school trip to Hiroshima, the first atomic-bombed city in history.
She disclosed that people around her sometimes see her as calm and innocent, but noted that she herself thinks her strength is “being able to sleep anywhere.”
“I once slept the whole night on a sofa on a porch soon after arriving at an Imperial villa in Nasu in Tochigi Prefecture,” she recalled.
On the other hand, she cited as her weakness a slight tendency to do things at her own pace. She also expressed intention to overcome her shyness.
About marriage, she said she has yet to think seriously because “it is still in the future.” But at the same, she described the ideal relationship with her future spouse as “being together and smiling each other.”
The Princess looked composed and spoke while facing forward throughout the press conference, and shared humorous stories.
Imperial Family members usually meet the press when they turn 20, but her press conference was put off until her spring break as she was busy studying at Gakushuin University.