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Japan's Princess Masako Returns to Royal Duties

Japanese Crown Princess Masako has returned to official duties after more than a year of seclusion because of a stress-related disorder.

Princess Masako, a 41-year-old former career diplomat, and her husband, Crown Prince Naruhito, appeared on the Imperial Palace balcony Sunday with Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko and other members of the royal household.

The princess smiled and waved to thousands of well-wishers during the traditional New Year appearance.

Palace officials said in July that Princess Masako was suffering from an "adjustment disorder," a mental condition caused by stress.

Royal-watchers say much of the stress came from pressure on her to produce a male heir.

The government agreed in December to study the possibility of amending royal succession rules so a woman could ascend the throne in the future.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.