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    Wedding of Japanese princess delayed by financial woes of future in-laws

    The parents of Japan’s Princess Mako have said that her marriage cannot go ahead until her fiance’s mother has resolved a reported financial scandal.
    Mako, the eldest grandchild of Emperor Akihito, caused a stir last September when she announced her engagement to Kei Komuro, whom she had met while they were studying at a university in Tokyo. Komuro has done some work as an assistant at a law firm in Tokyo, Okuno & Partners, and is soon to attend Fordham Law School in New York on a scholarship.
    The princess, who like all female members of the imperial family who marry a “commoner” would lose her royal status, was due to wed the 26-year-old paralegal in November this year, but in February their nuptials were abruptly postponed until 2020.
    The couple said they needed more time to prepare and to “think about marriage more deeply”. There were also concerns that preparations for the wedding, the first in the imperial family since Akihito’s only daughter married in a low-key ceremony in 2005, could overshadow his abdication on 30 April next year.
    The 84-year-old will be replaced on the Chrysanthemum throne the following day by his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito.
    “We have come to realise the lack of time to make sufficient preparations for various events leading up to our marriage this autumn and our life afterward,” Mako said in a statement at the time. “We believe that we have rushed various things.”
    Japanese media have reported, however, that Mako’s parents, Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, were increasingly troubled by media reports that Komuro’s mother was experiencing financial problems stemming from a loan she received from her former partner to cover her son’s tuition.
    Mako’s parents reportedly told the Komuros at several face-to-face meetings that the wedding could be marred by the mother’s reported debts and that the wedding could not go ahead until the matter had been resolved.
    There are also concerns that the couple could invite public criticism, as they will receive a lump sum of about 100 million yen ($900,000) from the government to help ease Mako’s exit from the imperial family and into her new non-royal life.
    Komuro left for New York earlier this month to begin three years of study for the state’s bar exam. No date has been set for the wedding or the series of rituals that precede it, but Kyodo News, citing a source close to the couple, said Mako and Komuro were in regular contact and still intended to marry.

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