Japan’s Crown Prince Fumihito said he “approves” of Princess Mako’s long-postponed plans to marry her university boyfriend, media reports say.
The crown prince’s daughter was originally set to wed non-royal Kei Komuro in 2018, a year after they announced their engagement.
The palace later denied the delay was linked to Kei Komuro’s mother’s rumored financial problems.
However, Prince Fumihito reiterated the money issues must be dealt with first, according to Kyodo news agency.
“In order for many people to be convinced and celebrate (the marriage), I have said it is important for the issue to be dealt with,” said Prince Fumihito, the younger brother of Emperor Naruhito and the first in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne.
“From my point of view, I think they are not in a situation where many people are convinced and pleased (about their marriage),” Crown Prince Fumihito, also known as Crown Prince Akishino, added.
Kei Komuro, who is currently completing further studies at Fordham University’s law school in New York, according to Kyodo, said last year his family had no financial difficulties.
He said the issue of an unpaid loan to his mother’s ex-fiancé had been settled. But the former fiancé told local media the issue was unresolved.
It is unclear when the couple, both 29, will hold their ceremony. Princess Mako, the eldest daughter of Prince Fumihito and Princess Kiko, will be stripped of her royal status upon marriage to Kei Komuro.
However, earlier this month Princess Mako expressed her strong resolve to go ahead with the wedding, local media said.
Crown Prince Fumihito has now also backed it.
“The constitution says marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes. If that is what they really want, then I think that is something I need to respect as a parent,” he said, according to Kyodo, Japan’s leading news agency.
Princess Mako of Japan will lose her royal status by marrying a commoner.
The 25-year-old eldest granddaughter of Emperor Akihito will become engaged to law firm worker Kei Komuro, also 25, whom she met while studying together.
Japan’s imperial law requires a princess to leave the royal family after marrying a commoner.
The move is expected to reignite debate on royal succession, with the emperor also possibly abdicating soon.
Princess Mako and Kei Komuro met in 2012 at a restaurant, when they were both studying at the International Christian University in Tokyo.
Image source Wikimedia
The Imperial Household told local media that plans were under way for the princess’s engagement.
According to AP, a public announcement will be made, and then a wedding date will be set. The news agency said the couple would also make a formal report to the emperor and empress.
The engagement will only be official after a ceremonial exchange of gifts, local media said.
Asked about their engagement plans, Kei Komuro on May 17 was quoted as saying: “Now is not the time for me to comment, but I want to speak at the right time.”
Princess Mako’s aunt, Princess Sayako, married a commoner in 2005 – the first time a Japanese royal became a commoner.
Princess Sayako’s wedding to an urban planner for the Tokyo city government, was described as a low key event. She was left to adjust to her more humble surrounding.
The princess moved into a one-bedroom apartment, had to learn how to drive, shop in a supermarket and buy furniture.
Princess Sayako is the only daughter of Emperor Akihito.
Emperor Akihito, 83, hinted last August that he wanted to stand down, saying his age could interfere with his duties.
No Japanese emperor has abdicated for two centuries and the law currently does not allow it, but Japan is currently considering legal changes to allow the emperor to abdicate.
However, the new legislation is expected to leave unchanged a males-only succession law – which has been at the centre of debate for many years.
Because of that law there are only four heirs to the Chrysanthemum Throne: Akihito’s sons Crown Prince Naruhito and Prince Fumihito, Prince Hisahito (Fumihito’s son) and the emperor’s younger brother, Prince Masahito.
After news of Princess Mako’s upcoming engagement broke, Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga was quoted by Reuters as saying: “There is no change in our view to proceed with consideration of steps to ensure stable imperial succession.”
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