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Newborn princess in good health: Imperial Household Agency.

TOKYO, Dec. 28 Kyodo

The Imperial Household Agency announced Friday that Princess Aiko, the first child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako born Dec. 1, is in good health and is growing.

The newborn princess is now 54 centimeters, up 4.4 cm from the time of her birth, and weighs 3,738 grams, up 636 grams, as of Thursday, the agency said.

According to sources close to the imperial family, Crown Princess Masako and Princess Aiko received one-month medical checkups on Thursday at their home at the Crown Prince's Palace in central Tokyo.

Crown Princess Masako is also recovering steadily, but is expected to skip New Year's events, including a New Year's ceremony next Tuesday and the New Year's greetings offered by the public at the Imperial Palace on Wednesday as part of her maternity leave.

Following the advice of her doctors, the crown princess is expected to take eight weeks of maternity leave from her official duties.

Meanwhile, East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) on Tuesday will start selling two types of prepaid railway cards which feature as design an admission ticket for the JR Ayashi station in Sendai in northeastern Japan in honor of the Princess Aiko.

Ayashi is written with the same Chinese characters as Aiko. The Chinese character ''ai'' means love, and ''ko,'' meaning child, is a character traditionally placed at the end of the names of females.

The name of the station became popular and demand for the cards increased after the princess was named Aiko on Dec. 7, according to JR East.

The 1,000 yen cards, one featuring an admission ticket dated Dec. 7 and the other featuring pictures of a sign of the station's name and a train, will be sold only at the station.

A total of 124 admission tickets for the station was sold between April and November, but between Dec. 7-27, a record of about 84,400 tickets were sold, JR East said.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Dec 31, 2001
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