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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 September 2007, 12:14 GMT 13:14 UK
First birthday for Japan's prince
Prince Hisahito uses a table to hold himself up on 31 August 2007 (Photo: Imperial Household Agency)
The little boy is closely watched by the media and the public
The heir to the Japanese throne, Prince Hisahito, has spent his first birthday visiting his imperial grandparents.

The little boy wore a white shirt and blue overalls for his meeting with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.

His mother, Princess Kiko, said that he had begun talking, while royal aides described him as an active child.

Prince Hisahito is third in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne. His birth solved a succession crisis in Japan, where only men can be monarchs.

But it also ended a fledgling debate on whether women should be allowed to ascend the throne.

Picture books

The Imperial Household Agency released video footage of the little boy and his family to mark his birthday, while newspapers published pictures of him on their front pages.

"His Highness Prince Hisahito is walking with support and crawling on stairs, and his activity has grown vigorous particularly in the past month," the agency said in a statement.

"He likes picture books and turns the pages himself," it said.

Prince Hisahito is the son of Prince Akishino, the emperor's younger son. The little boy has two older sisters, Princess Mako and Princess Kako.

The emperor's elder son, Crown Prince Naruhito, and his wife Princess Masako have a daughter, Princess Aiko.

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