Photo/Illutration Prince Hisahito and Princess Kako arrive for the 41st national speech contest for junior high school students held in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward on Dec. 8. (Tatsuya Shimada)

Prince Hisahito, second in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne, and his sister Princess Kako performed their first official duty alone by attending a national speech contest in Tokyo for junior high school students.

Hisahito, 13, a first-year student at Ochanomizu University Junior High School, and Kako, a 24-year-old graduate of International Christian University, listened keenly to the speeches given by the 12 finalists at the contest held in Shibuya Ward on Dec. 8.

One visually impaired student gave a speech about the difficult process in recognizing a friend. Another student underscored the importance of seeing and talking directly to deepen mutual understanding.

The annual event was organized by the National Institution for Youth Education.

Hisahito and Kako are children of Crown Princess Kiko and Crown Prince Fumihito, Emperor Naruhito’s younger brother.