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1 year passes since informal engagement of Princess Mako; ceremonies postponed till 2020

The informal engagement of Princess Mako, granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, and Kei Komuro is broadcast on a TV set seen in a street in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on Sept. 3, 2017. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Sept. 3 marked the first anniversary of the informal engagement of Princess Mako, the eldest granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, and Kei Komuro, yet related ceremonies have been postponed until 2020.

    The Imperial Household Agency's Vice Grand Steward, Yasuhiko Nishimura, stated in a news conference on Sept. 3 that the agency would "continue supporting the two, paying full attention to their feelings."

    Princess Mako, the elder daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, was informally engaged on Sept. 3 of last year. The couple had planned to marry on Nov. 4 this year, but on Feb. 6, right before the traditional "Nosai no Gi" betrothal event, it was announced that the related ceremonies would be postponed.

    Princess Mako and Komuro, both 26, released a statement through the agency that they "didn't have enough time to make sufficient preparations."

    Some weekly magazines reported from the end of last year that Komuro's family had had "financial trouble" with a male acquaintance. The agency denied any connection between the reports and the postponement, but it is possible they affected the pair's decision.

    According to people familiar with the situation, the Komuros answered that there was "no problem" when asked by Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko to explain the reports. It was disclosed that Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko had judged that the preparations for the betrothal event could not go ahead as things stood, although they strongly intended to respect the wishes of their daughter and Komuro.

    Komuro started a three-year study program from August at Fordham University's law school in New York to pass the bar examination in the United States. A law firm employing Komuro stated in an interview in July, that it had "not heard of any changes in their marriage plans."

    Officials at the Imperial Household Agency asked for people to "watch over them with kindness, since their future plans will be decided by the couple and their households."

    (Japanese original by Hiroyuki Takashima, City News Department)

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