Japan’s Crown Prince Fumihito has revealed he ‘approves’ of Princess Mako’s plans to marry – despite his daughter delaying the wedding for the second time last month.
Princess Mako, 28, who studied in Edinburgh, Dublin and Leicester, will be forced to give up her title in order to marry long-term boyfriend Kei Komuro, whom she met at university.
But after already delaying her wedding once in 2017, weeks ago it was announced that the plans for her to wed Komuro are on hold yet again, despite it being over two years since they originally postponed their big day.
According to the Kyoto news agency, Prince Fumihito said: ‘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.’
Japan’s Crown Prince Fumihito has revealed he ‘approves’ of Princess Mako’s plans to marry – despite his daughter delaying the wedding for the second time last month
However he went on to reference reports suggesting Mr Komuro’s family is involved in a financial dispute.
He added: ‘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.’
Last month, Princess Mako told how, while the couple are ‘irreplaceable to each other’, there are still no ‘concrete plans’ of when they will eventually tie the knot, and that it’s difficult to tell ‘anything about the future’ at the moment.
‘For us, a marriage is a necessary choice to live and honour our hearts,’ said Mako in a statement last month, released by the Imperial Household Agency.
Last month, Princess Mako delayed plans to marry her fiance Kei Komuro after originally announcing their engagement 2017. The couple are pictured during a press conference in 2017
The royal, 28, (pictured in 2011) who studied in Edinburgh, Dublin and Leicester, will be forced to give up her title in order to marry her long-term boyfriend.
‘We are irreplaceable to each other, and we can lean on each other in happy times and in unhappy times.
‘It is difficult to tell anything concrete regarding our future plans and others at the moment.’
Japan’s imperial law requires a princess to leave the royal family after marrying a commoner.
Princess Mako’s aunt, Princess Sayako, became the last royal to be stripped of her status when she wed a Tokyo city official in 2005.
The couple met while both students at Tokyo’s International Christian University.
The royal recently took on official duties at her uncle Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony at the Imperial Palace. Pictured in October last year
Princess Mako (in blue) has taken on a more active role within the family in the months since her uncle was made Emperor and her father heir to the throne in May. Pictured left to right: Princess Kako, 24, and Princess Mako with parents Crown Princess Kiko and Crown Prince Fumihito in October 2019
Komuro proposed over dinner in December 2013, and the pair kept their their long-distance relationship under wraps while Mako studied for her master’s degree in the UK.
Princess Mako announced her intention to marry Mr Komuro, who works at a law firm, in 2017. Shortly afterwards it was announced the pair would wed in November 2018.
The wedding was later postponed until 2020, with an official statement saying the couple needed more time to plan.
However reports have since emerged suggesting Mr Komuro’s family is involved in a financial dispute of which his in-laws disapprove.
According to reports, Mr Komuro’s mother had borrowed 4 million yen, or about £27,300, from an ex-boyfriend and then failed to repay it.
When news of this emerged, the Imperial Household Agency reported the pair would postpone their wedding by two years, from November 2018 until 2020.
The couple met while both were students at Tokyo’s International Christian University. Komuro (pictured in 2017) proposed over dinner in December 2013
In July the Crown Prince said he did not know whether his daughter’s marriage will take place. Pictured, Princess Mako being welcomed by Princess Eeuphelma Choden Wangchuck in Bhutan 2017
In July the Crown Prince said he did not know whether his daughter’s marriage will take place, the Japan Times reported.
The news comes weeks after her father Crown Prince Fumihito, 54, was formally installed as first in line to Japan’s Chrysanthemum Throne.
Last month the royal took on official duties at her uncle Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony.
The princess donned a traditional Jūnihitoe as she took part in a procession through Tokyo’s Imperial Palace to mark her uncle’s formal ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne.
It marked the latest in a string of high profile engagements carried out by the princess, who has taken on a more active role within the family in the months since her uncle was made Emperor and her father heir to the throne in May.
Mako will be the ninth female member of the family to marry a commoner since the passage of the Imperial Household Law of 1947 governing the line of succession.
Japanese monarchy: A man’s world
Female members of the Imperial family have no claim to the Chrysanthemum Throne.
As with all women in her family, Princess Mako will lose her royal status upon marriage to a commoner. This law does not apply to male royals.
Few of former Emperor Akihito’s children and grandchildren are male, meaning there was a shortage of heirs to the throne.
Akihito was succeeded by his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, who ascended the throne on May 1, 2019 and was formally sworn in last month – after the ceremony was postponed for seven months and scaled down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Naruhito has a daughter but no sons, meaning, his younger brother Akishino is now next in line, followed by Hisahito, Akishino’s 10-year-old son.
Emperor Akihito (left, with Empress Michiko at the centenary reception of the foundation of the America-Japan Society in Tokyo in April 2018) won plaudits for seizing upon the constitutionally-prescribed role of national symbol
Akihito’s three other grandchildren are all women so after Hisahito, the only person left in the line of succession is Princess Mako’s younger brother.
After that there are no more eligible males, meaning the centuries-old succession would be broken if the young heirs do not have any sons of their own.
So far the monarchy has an unbroken 2,600-year-long line of male succession.
Those who are concerned about the future of the royal family want to allow women to succeed the throne and others to keep their royal status so they can keep performing public duties – but a government panel on the emperor’s abdication avoided the divisive issue.
Traditionalists, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, strenuously oppose such changes, even though Japan has occasionally been ruled by female sovereigns in past centuries.
Crown Prince Fumihito, who is better known as Prince Akishino, was sworn in as first in line to Chrysanthemum Throne in a traditional ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo last month. He donned an orange robe and was accompanied by his wife Crown Princess Kiko who opted for a green outfit for the monumental occasion. Pictured left to right: Crown Princess Kiko, Crown Prince Fumihito, Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako