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Princess Mako, fiance Komuro hold news conference on engagement

Princess Mako, right, and Kei Komuro are pictured in a news conference on their engagement at Akasaka Estate in the Motoakasaka district of Tokyo on the afternoon of Sept. 3, 2017. (Pool photo)
Princess Mako is pictured on Sept. 3, 2017, as she heads to the Imperial Palace. (Mainichi)

Princess Mako and her university classmate Kei Komuro held a news conference following informal confirmation of their engagement on Sept. 3, with the princess saying she looked forward to making a warm family.

Imperial Household Agency Grand Steward Shinichiro Yamamoto announced in a separate news conference in Tokyo earlier the same day that the engagement of Princess Mako -- the first grandchild of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko -- had been confirmed informally.

Princess Mako, 25, eldest daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, is the first grandchild of the Emperor and Empress' four grandchildren to be engaged. Both she and Komuro, 25, an employee of a legal firm, attended International Christian University in the suburban Tokyo city of Mitaka.

"I'll be happy if I can make a warm and comfortable family full of smiles with Mr. Komuro," the princess said during her news conference with Komuro.

When asked how Komuro proposed to her, the princess said, "We share the view of wanting to date someone with the expectation of marriage, so I knew from the beginning that we would marry. I had already made up my mind, so I immediately accepted on the spot."

"Nosai no gi," an engagement ceremony in which Komuro's messenger will present betrothal gifts to Prince Akishino's family, and "Kokki no gi," a ceremony in which Komuro's messenger will notify Prince Akishino's family of the schedule of their marriage, will be held before their wedding, expected next year.

Prior to Yamamoto's news conference, Emperor Akihito held a ceremony to approve the marriage between Princess Mako and Komuro.

The princess and Komuro, who were both students at International Christian University (ICU), met each other for the first time when they attended a meeting in June 2012 to exchange views on overseas study.

While they were studying abroad at almost the same time, the couple exchanged emails and talked on the phone.

Princess Mako will be the first female member of the Imperial Family to marry since Princess Noriko of Takamado married Kunimaro Senge, a priest at Izumo Taisha Shrine in Shimane Prefecture, in October 2014. She will also be the first descendent of the Emperor and Empress to marry since then Princess Sayako, the sole daughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko married Tokyo Metropolitan Government official Yoshiki Kuroda in November 2005.

Under the Imperial House Law, Princess Mako will leave the Imperial Family after marrying Komuro, who remains a commoner, thus reducing the number of Imperial Household members, including the Emperor and Empress, to 18.

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