• Kyodo

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The boyfriend of Princess Mako, the niece of Emperor Naruhito, intends to pay money to his mother's former fiance in an effort to settle a long-standing financial dispute, his lawyer said Monday.

The move comes after Kei Komuro expressed his resolve to marry the princess in a statement released last week. The row involves about ¥4 million ($36,600) the former fiance claims Komuro's mother owes him.

Komuro, who has been studying at Fordham University's law school in New York since August 2018, has informed the 29-year-old princess of his intention to pay settlement money, the lawyer told reporters.

Komuro, also 29, had said resolving the issue through talks would be "the best choice." It is not immediately known why he has now opted to pay settlement money.

The lawyer said he does not believe that his client thinks paying the money "will directly lead to marriage."

In the 24-page statement, Komuro vowed to "correct erroneous information as much as possible," referring to news reports of a feud between his mother and her former fiance over money, including Komuro's educational expenses, which the ex-fiance shouldered but Komuro and the mother regarded as a gift.

The planned marriage between Komuro and Crown Prince Akishino's elder daughter has been postponed for over two years following reports of the money problem.

The crown prince, the emperor's younger brother, has said he approves of the couple's marriage but urged Komuro to make a visible effort to resolve the dispute.

Princess Mako, meanwhile, sought public understanding of Komuro's stance, as she reflected on her thoughts on his statement released on Thursday, according to an Imperial Household Agency official.

In the document, Komuro said efforts to bridge the gap over the problem through negotiations between his mother and the man "broke down."

The princess and Komuro met in 2012 as students at International Christian University in Tokyo. They announced in September 2017 their plan to get engaged, with their wedding originally scheduled to take place in November 2018.

But the Imperial Household Agency said in February 2018 their marriage would be put off until 2020 following reports of the dispute.

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