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Japan 4-yr-old princess gets taste of Magic Kingdom

By Staff
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TOKYO, March 13 (Reuters) Last week, it was the zoo. Today, it was Disneyland.

Japan's 4-year-old Princess Aiko has been getting a weekly dose of life outside the palace and what children her age go through as she prepares to start nursery school in April.

Aiko, a big fan of the ancient sport of sumo, according to her father Crown Prince Naruhito, appeared a bit perplexed, if not scared, by the welcome she received by the Magic Kingdom's symbols, Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Dressed in a pale blue coat and grey trousers, Aiko shrank back and clung to her mother, Crown Princess Masako, when the characters approached to shake hands.

She later recovered her composure enough to wave to waiting crowds after boarding an open-sided car with her smiling parents.

The weekly outings have also given Masako more public exposure as the 42-year-old former career diplomat copes with a stress-related mental condition believed to have been brought on by the pressures of adapting to court life.

Masako has cut down on official duties over the past two years and will not accompany Naruhito on his trip to Mexico later this week, but the prince said on Friday that she was now feeling better and looking forward to Aiko starting nursery school.

REUTERS PV BT1130

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