Barring any last minute changes, Japanese Princess Mako would marry her long-time friend and fiance, a former college classmate, on October 26, after years of intense scrutiny and criticism that cast her engagement in an unflattering light following revelation of $35,000 debts allegedly incurred by her mother in-law to be.
Mako, who is a 29-year-old niece of Emperor Naruhito became engaged to her fiancé, Kei Komuro, 29, in 2017, and the two initially captivated the public with their smiles at each other in a news conference to announce the event.
But trouble started after information emerged about a financial dispute between Komuro’s mother and her former fiance, and early in 2018 the marriage was postponed. In August that year, Komuro departed to attend law school in the United States, and didn’t return until Monday.
The Imperial Household Agency, which runs the lives of the royal family, made the announcement of the wedding date at a news conference on Friday, bringing to rest long speculation about the princess future and position of the royal family on the union.
They also said the princess was suffering from a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – echoing the situation of Empress Masako, who for years has struggled with what has been termed an “adjustment disorder.”
Meanwhile, with the announcement, Mako would leave the royal family upon her marriage, as was customary. None of the ceremonies that usually accompany a royal marriage would take place, and the princess would forgo a one-off payment of a million dollars to which she was entitled.
As stated, the couple would register their marriage at a local government office, with records of the imperial family adjusted to reflect that Princess Mako has left it.
The controversy over the pair’s marriage started when a tabloid reported claims by a former fiance of Komuro’s mother that the mother and son had failed to repay a debt of about $35,000. Komuro has said his mother’s former fiancé provided the money as a gift, not a loan.
The scandal spread from tabloids to regular news media and gained still more life when imperial family members were prompted to speak out. Komuro himself issued a detailed statement this year.
Komuro completed studies at Fordham Law School this year and took the bar exam that would enable him to practice law this summer. He has reportedly secured a job as a clerk in a law office in the United States.
He flew into Tokyo late on Monday for his first visit in three years, sporting a ponytail that set off widespread tabloid and television discussion about whether he was being disrespectful.