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Japan’s weekly magazines occasionally take advantage of serendipitous timing to inflate the significance of certain stories. On Nov. 13, Princess Mako released a statement about her stalled betrothal to Kei Komuro, whom she met in university. Although the two announced plans to marry more than three years ago, they later put off the engagement until after all the rituals surrounding the succession of a new emperor were completed.

That cycle ended in early November when Mako’s father, Prince Akishino, was officially declared the Crown Prince in a formal ceremony. In her statement, Mako reiterated her intention to wed Komuro while acknowledging that some people were “negative” about the match. Coincidentally, her father held his annual birthday press conference and the matter of Mako’s marriage came up. His comment was provocatively equivocal in that he said his daughter’s desire to marry should be “respected” while also implying she needed to make a better case to the public for why it had to be Komuro.

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