Japan's crown prince attends banquet organized by Dutch queen

Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito attended a banquet Monday evening organized by Dutch Queen Beatrix, who is abdicating, ahead of the coronation of the new Dutch king on Tuesday.

Crown Princess Masako, who is accompanying her husband to attend the coronation of Prince Willem-Alexander, skipped the banquet to lessen the burden on her.

It is the first official overseas trip in 11 years for the 49-year-old crown princess, who is continuing to receive treatment for a stress-induced illness. She last traveled to New Zealand and Australia in 2002.

The crown princess only plans to attend the coronation ceremony on Tuesday and a reception, the Imperial Household Agency said, adding the plan was made with the consent of the Dutch side.

The crown prince came to Monday's banquet held at a national museum with Swedish Crown Princess Victoria. The event was attended by the Dutch royal family as well as members of royal families across Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere among other guests.

Prior to the Monday evening banquet, the Japanese imperial couple received a briefing on the local situation in the Netherlands from Japanese Ambassador to the Netherlands Yasumasa Nagamine.

They are expected to leave the Netherlands on May 2 and return home the following day.