• Kyodo

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Kei Komuro, the boyfriend of Princess Mako, plans to soon return from the United States to Japan in order to prepare for their marriage, sources familiar with the situation said Thursday, despite some public discontent over a money dispute involving his mother.

The Imperial Household Agency is considering holding a joint press conference for the princess, a niece of Emperor Naruhito, and Komuro, both 29, upon his return from the United States, where he currently lives. The couple are preparing to register their marriage in October, according to a government source.

Komuro will be coming back to Japan for the first time since he left for New York in August 2018 to study at Fordham University’s law school, from which he graduated earlier this year.

The couple’s wedding has been postponed for about three years following a string of reports about a financial squabble Komuro’s mother was in with a former fiance over ¥4 million in monetary support, including money spent on Komuro’ education.

The agency is planning to forgo the usual rites associated with imperial family members’ weddings, such as an official engagement ceremony called Nosai no Gi, in which the families of the betrothed exchange gifts, and a Choken no Gi event to officially meet with the emperor and empress prior to marriage.

With many people in Japan not welcoming the couple’s marriage due to controversy involving the Komuro family, the princess will likely decline a lump-sum payment of up to about ¥150 million that is traditionally given to female royal family members upon their departure from the household.

The government is discussing whether it is legally possible under current rules to annul the payment, which would be financed using taxpayer money, in accordance with the princess’s unprecedented request. The Imperial House Law stipulates female imperial family members lose their royal status upon marrying civilians.

After submitting the legal papers for marriage registration, the princess is expected to leave her imperial residence and prepare to start a new life in the United States, where Komuro is expected to start working at a law firm, according to the government source.

Komuro, who previously worked at a Tokyo law firm as a paralegal, took the New York state bar examination in July. The result of the exam will be announced by mid-December.

The two met in 2012 as students at International Christian University in Tokyo and were unofficially engaged in September 2017.

Their wedding was initially scheduled to take place on Nov. 4, 2018, but the agency abruptly announced in February of that year the postponement of ritual ceremonies related to their marriage following reports on the financial dispute.

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