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Princess Mako's fiance-to-be reluctant to talk about relationship

Kei Komuro, center, answers reporters' questions outside the legal firm he works for, in Tokyo's Chuo Ward on May 17, 2017. (Mainichi)

Kei Komuro, who will soon become engaged to Princess Mako, the first grandchild of Emperor Akihito and the eldest daughter of Prince Akishino, met reporters on the morning of May 17 outside the legal firm in Tokyo where he works.

During his 5-minute meeting with reporters from 10 a.m. in the first-floor hall of a building housing the legal firm, Komuro, a 25-year-old former classmate of Princess Mako, was all smiles, providing a glimpse into his sense of integrity.

"I am sorry for keeping you waiting so long. Thank you in advance," Komuro told reporters as he made a deep bow at the outset of the press interview.

He remarked that he would speak about the engagement "when the time is ripe" and that he would "withhold from commenting" on the issue that day.

Clad in a blackish suit and navy blue tie, Komuro, who shared his school years with Princess Mako at International Christian University in western Tokyo, looked straight into the face of each reporter who posed questions to him, carefully choosing his words in responding to them.

He apparently avoided talking much about his relationship with Princess Mako as their engagement has yet to be officially announced.

"How did both of you contact each other, when it would have been difficult to go out on a date like commoners?" asked one reporter, while another questioned, "Did Princess Mako encourage you (prior to the press briefing)?" In response, Komuro just repeatedly said, "I'm sorry."

He did reveal to reporters that he had a telephone conversation with Princess Mako early that morning, with the princess telling him, "Take care."

According to sources close to the matter, Princess Mako got acquainted with Komuro about five years ago during a gathering about studying abroad at a restaurant in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward.

A host of reporters flocked to an apartment in Yokohama's Kohoku Ward where Komuro and his family live from early on May 17. At around 9:23 a.m., Komuro's mother came home by car amid heavy security presence with nine officers from Kanagawa Prefectural Police on guard in front of the apartment.

Komuro's mother, however, stopped short of answering questions from reporters and entered the building after making a deep bow.

A 65-year-old woman in the neighborhood told the Mainichi Shimbun, "He (Komuro) is considerate of his mother. I often saw him walking with her."

Another neighbor, a 36-year-old female office worker, said, "I would like to congratulate him."

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