Japanese Princess Mako announces engagement

Xinhua
Japanese Princess Mako announced her engagement to long-time boyfriend Kei Komuro on Sunday, and the wedding might take place in fall, 2018.
Xinhua
Shizuo Kambayashi / AP

Japan's Princess Mako, right, the elder daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, and her fiance Kei Komuro, look at each other during a press conference at Akasaka East Residence in Tokyo, Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. 

Japanese Princess Mako announced her engagement to long-time boyfriend Kei Komuro on Sunday, and the wedding might take place in fall, 2018, according to Japan's Imperial Household Agency.

Princess Mako is the elder daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko and the eldest granddaughter of Emperor Akihito.

She and Komuro, both 25 years old, met each other at a party when they were students at the International Christian University in Tokyo and have dated for five years.

The announcement was originally scheduled to be made in July, but postponed due to a deadly torrential rain that claimed dozens of lives in southwestern Japan.

After the marriage, the princess will renounce her status as a member of the imperial family to become an ordinary citizen like her husband.

The marriage would reduce the number of Japanese imperial family members to 18, with Princess Mako's 10-year-old brother Prince Hisahito as the only male of his generation, raising concerns over a possible succession crisis.

Japan's parliament enacted a one-off law in June allowing Japanese Emperor Akihito to step down and pass his duties over to Crown Prince Naruhito.

A special resolution was adopted and attached to the law, saying that the government will "consider various issues to secure stable imperial succession, including creating female branches."

The resolution is not binding and has not specified a deadline for drawing a conclusion to the issue.

According to the 1947 Imperial House Law, females cannot ascend to the throne and must leave the imperial family when they marry commoners.

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