National

Princess Mako’s intention to marry is unchanged, agency chief insists at Tokyo news conference

Kyodo

Princess Mako, the eldest granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, and her fiance, Kei Komuro, are merely postponing their wedding and their intention to marry is unchanged, the Imperial Household Agency reiterated Thursday.

“I’ve heard it’s just a postponement and their intention to get married is unchanged. I hope their feelings are understood and that they will be watched over warmly and quietly,” Shinichiro Yamamoto, the agency’s grand steward, said at a news conference.

On Tuesday, the princess said through the agency that she wants to postpone the marriage with her classmate from university days until 2020, citing “lack of time to make sufficient preparations.”

The couple, both 26, were set to be formally engaged in a traditional court ceremony on March 4 ahead of their planned wedding on Nov. 4.

“I hope (the princess’) feelings are taken as is,” Yamamoto said.

The agency chief said he is in “no position” to comment or know the contents of recent weekly magazine reports of financial trouble in Komuro’s family. The agency on Tuesday denied a link between the reports and the postponement.

Regarding the ¥150 million ($1.3 million) the government has already earmarked in the draft budget for fiscal 2018, ending next March, for payment when a female Imperial family member becomes a commoner through marriage, Yamamoto said the agency does not intend to retract the allocation as it “would not be disbursed if there is no necessity.”

In accordance with the Imperial House Law, Princess Mako will renounce her status as a member of the Imperial family after marrying Komuro, a commoner.

On Friday, the princess met with her longtime calligraphy teacher at an exhibition in Tokyo in her first official appearance since news of the marriage delay was made public.

“The longer the engagement period, the more happiness it will bring,” said the teacher, Shuko Yanagisawa, as she gave the princess a tour of the exhibition displaying works by 100 major female calligraphers in Japan.