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Crown Prince and Princess attend national tree festival ceremony

Crown Prince Naruhito, third from left, and Crown Princess Masako, second from left, talk to children at the "Zenkoku Ikujusai" national tree festival at Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, in the Tokyo suburban city of Chofu on Nov. 18, 2018, as Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, left, looks on. (Mainichi/Naoki Watanabe)

TOKYO -- Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako attended a ceremony in Chofu, western Tokyo, on Nov. 18 for the 42nd "Zenkoku Ikujusai" event to promote and protect Japan's forests.

"I hope a culture of growing forests, using trees in our lives and coexisting with trees will spread widely from here in Tokyo to the whole of Japan, and to the next generation," the Crown Prince said in a speech.

The ceremony recognized individuals who have made major contributions to forestry, and the Crown Prince and Princess thanked children involved in local tree planting, telling them, "Please stay active."

Crown Prince Naruhito has been a part of the Zenkoku Ikujusai every year, but the 2018 event will be his last as crown prince, as he is set to accede to the throne in May 2019 after the abdication of his father Emperor Akihito at the end of April.

(Japanese original by Tomofumi Inagaki, City News Department)

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