Princess Nori’s engagement announced

Princess Nori, the only daughter of Emperor Akihito, will marry Yoshiki Kuroda, a Tokyo Metropolitan Government employee, the Imperial Household Agency said Thursday.

The wedding between the princess, 35, and Kuroda, 39, will take place sometime after next summer, Grand Steward Toshio Yuasa told a news conference at the Imperial Palace to announce their impending engagement.

The couple must first complete traditional ceremonies before officially declaring their engagement in accordance with the law.

Hours later, the couple met with reporters at the palace in their first public appearance together since their planned engagement was first reported in mid-November.

Kuroda said, “While respecting each other’s way of thinking, we want to build a peaceful family in which we can relax.”

His fiancee responded, “I have the same idea.”

The marriage will be the first in 45 years for a female member of an emperor’s immediate family. The princess must relinquish her royal title under the Imperial House Law.

Princess Nori described Kuroda as “a man who not only has his own firm ideas but also a broad mind that allows him to accept others’ thoughts.”

Kuroda said the princess is “very kind to everyone” and “always considerate.”

Kuroda shyly confessed that he proposed marriage at Prince Akishino’s residence during a gathering early this year. The prince is the younger of Princess Nori’s two elder brothers and has been a friend of Kuroda’s since childhood.

“I accepted the offer out there,” the princess said.

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko said in a statement, “It is encouraging that the young couple have decided to spend their life together after almost two years of friendship.”

The grand steward expressed delight on behalf of all Imperial Household Agency officials, saying, “I hope the couple, who are about to embark on a new life, will be warmly watched over” by the public.

He praised the “big” role the princess has always played as a member of the Imperial household, citing her official duties. He said Kuroda is “a decent person and suitable as the princess’ partner.”

“On this day, after the couple have spent two years to deepen their ties, we are overwhelmed with joy,” Yuasa said.

The engagement announcement finally came after twice being delayed.

It was originally intended for November but was postponed out of consideration for the victims of the major earthquakes in Niigata Prefecture in October.