Japan's Princes Mako announces engagement to commoner giving up royal status

Внучка императора Японии выходит замуж за простолюдина

The pair met while studying at International Christian University five years ago and spent a year dating long-distance while Princess Mako studied in England and Komuro in America.

Princess Mako, the eldest daughter of Prince Fumihito and Princess Kiko, and her fiance, Kei Komuro, hold a news conference on their engagement at the Akasaka Estate in Tokyo on Sept 3.

A Japanese princess must leave the royal because she plans to marry her former classmate who is a commoner. "While I worked to help the emperor and fulfil duties as a royal family member as much as I can, I've been cherishing my own life".

Princess Mako said she was initially attracted by Kei Komuro's "bright smile like a sun". Komuro replied Princess Mako "has been quietly watching over me like the moon".

The news of their engagement was reported in May by the Japan Times and later confirmed by the Imperial Household Agency.

Komuro, 25, said he proposed in December 2013 after dining with the princess in Tokyo. "I would like to have a family that is always calm and peaceful", he added.

The announcement was originally expected in July, but was not made due to a rain disaster in the country.

Emperor Akihitio, Mako's 83-year-old grandfather, is expected to abdicate the throne in late 2018.

The shrinking royal population, which mirrors the broader aging of Japanese society, has raised concerns that the prince may also be the last.

But the legislation, which only applies to Akihito and not future emperors, makes no reference to the controversial topics of whether to revise a males-only succession law or to allow women to stay in the imperial family after marriage. Once she relinquishes her royal status, the Imperial family to just 18 members, already including the emperor.

The couple had a long-distance relationship while studying overseas - Princess Mako in Britain and Mr Komuro in the US - for one year. Her younger brother, Prince Hisahito, is the third in line to the throne after their uncle, Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan, and their father.

After the flame of romance was lit, Mako left for Britain while Komuro went to the United States to continue their studies.

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