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Japan's Princess Masako speaks of brighter future on her 50th birthday

09 DECEMBER 2013 On her 50th birthday Crown Princess Masako of Japan vowed to "continue efforts to make a full recovery" from her long-term stress-induced illness.

The Japanese royal marked her coming of age with a two-page public statement that hinted of a brighter future.

"I feel strong gratitude toward the many people who helped me get to where I am now," she wrote.
 

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"Since my birthday last year, I've been making efforts to accomplish my duties, whether business or personal, as much as possible."

She added, "I would like to continue my efforts toward my recovery while receiving help from people around."

This year also marked her and her husband Crown Prince Naruhito's 20th wedding anniversary.

The former career diplomat has not often been seen in public since being diagnosed with a stress-induced 'adjustment disorder' in 2004.
 

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A separate statement was also released on Monday by her medical staff saying she has been "recovering steadily albeit slowly"

The statement added, "Too much expectation may cause an adverse effect."

The doctors added that the gradually increasing frequency of her public appearances has helped support her treatment.

Masako left Japan for the first time in 11 years to attend King Willem-Alexander's inauguration in the Netherlands in April.

The Princess travelled to Amsterdam with her husband marking their first joint overseas engagement since they toured Australia and New Zealand in August 2002.

This year she also travelled within Japan with her husband this year to visit communities affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

"I was happy to see the smiling faces of many people in the area stricken by disaster," Princess Masako said of her visit.

The mum-of-one also expressed her sympathy for those who passed away in a series of typhoons that hit an island to the south of Tokyo, as well as in the Philippines.

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