Royalty and statesmen

The proud imperial parents were on hand to see their six-year-old daughter pick up her leaving certificate from an exclusive Tokyo kindergarten at the weekend
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Naruhito and Masako watch daughter Aiko graduate kindergarten

18 MARCH 2008
The heir to Japan's Chrysanthemum throne and his wife, Prince Naruhito and Princess Masako, have always stressed they want their daughter Aiko to enjoy the same experiences as any other child of her age. One such opportunity came this week as the imperial couple shared Aiko's first educational milestone - her graduation from kindergarten.

Clad in her navy school uniform, the six-year-old was presented with a certificate to mark the special occasion during a ceremony at the Gakushuin Kindergarten. She also joined fellow pupils in singing a graduation song learned especially for the day.

The young princess is scheduled to attend the capital's Gakushuin Elementary School from next month.

The original Gakushuin school was established in Tokyo in 1877 to educate the children of the Japanese aristocracy. Though eventually also open to the offspring of wealthy commoners the educational establishments maintain a reputation for exclusivity, with the current emperor and John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono featuring among famous alumni.