Japan: royal family to take summer vacation in Netherlands

Naruhito, Crown Princess Masako and their four-year-old daughter, Aiko, will stay in the Netherlands from Aug. 17 to 31, said Imperial Household Agency spokesman Toru Takeuchi.

They will stay in a palace in the city of Apeldoorn, outside Amsterdam, Japanese media reported.

The trip is intended to help Masako, who has been suffering from a form of depression, rest quietly. Takeuchi said Yutaka Oho, her chief doctor, will accompany the family during the trip.

The 42-year-old princess, a former diplomat who was educated at Harvard and Oxford, is recovering from stress-induced depression. She retreated from official duties in late 2003.

Along with the rigors of adjusting to royal life, the crown princess has also been under tremendous pressure to produce a male heir to succeed Naruhito. No male has been born to the family since Naruhito's younger brother, Prince Akishino, was born in 1965.

Earlier this year, however, the palace announced that Princess Kiko, the wife of Emperor Akihito's second son, is pregnant.

The upcoming trip will be the royal couple's first overseas trip in nearly four years. They visited New Zealand and Australia in December 2002, according to the AP.

During their stay in the Netherlands, the family will meet with Queen Beatrix and other Dutch royals before returning home on Aug. 31, according to palace officials.