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Japan's crown princess has adjustment disorder

/ Source: The Associated Press

Crown Princess Masako has been diagnosed by doctors as having adjustment disorder, Japanese media reported Friday.

Masako, 40, has received an outpouring of public sympathy since December, when she was briefly hospitalized for herpes zoster -- a stress-induced viral infection commonly known as shingles and usually not considered dangerous.

Japanese media reports, citing the Imperial Household Agency, said palace doctors found that Masako has adjustment disorder, a psychological condition caused by stress and usually compounded by depression or anxiety. She has been undergoing counseling and has been given medication, the reports said, without elaborating.

Masako told palace officials she wanted her condition to be disclosed to the public, Kyodo News reported, citing unidentified sources close to the princess.

Palace officials refused to comment Friday, saying they were holding a briefing for the Japanese media.

Crown Prince Naruhito has said Masako was exhausted from trying to adjust to imperial life and the pressures of producing a male heir to the throne. The couple has a two-year-old daughter.

Masako hasn't performed her official duties or accompanied him on tours of Japan or overseas since December.

Before his European trip in May, Naruhito lashed out at palace officials for trying to "deny her character" by restricting his wife's activities, and blamed them for her ill health.

The shakeup inside palace walls has stirred calls for reform of the Imperial Household Agency, the conservative government bureaucracy that oversees palace affairs.

The popular princess has occasionally alluded to the pressures of royal life since she was married in 1993. Amid intense public pressure to produce an heir, she had one miscarriage before giving birth to Princess Aiko in December 2001.

In January, the Harvard-educated princess said in a statement that her health problems "resulted from the accumulation of mental and physical fatigue" in an unfamiliar environment over the past 10 years.