Earlier this month, the Imperial Household of Japan announced that Her Imperial Highness Princess Mako’s engagement to her commoner university sweetheart Kei Komuro, both 26, was to be postponed over “lack of preparation” and would be delayed until at least 2020.
“The intention of the two to get married hasn’t changed at all. [The postponement] isn’t because of the report,” said Takaharu Kaji, an Imperial Household Agency official at the time. Another official said the postponement should be seen positively. “If there is any trouble, it should be resolved, and then the two should get married. Time can be used to further strengthen their bonds,” he said.
It was mentioned that Her Imperial Highness wanted to delay the wedding until after her grandfather, Emperor Akihito’s abdication in April 2019. Had the marriage taken place this year as planned, Mako would not have been able to attend the ceremonies surrounding the abdication as she would have been required to renounce her title and cease to be a member of the Imperial House upon her marriage to a commoner.
Upon the announcement in early February, many began to wonder if the wedding would indeed ever take place. According to a new report by The Times, the postponement was a planned “phased break-up” that was “designed to avoid loss of face.”
A source in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe’s office said to magazine Shukan Gendai, “This is a cancellation…Kei will be urged to ‘voluntarily withdraw’.” They added that this would take place around the Emperor’s abdication next year.
Jeff Kingston of Tokyo’s Temple University remarked, “The IHA does not let the royals make decisions because they are symbols. And as symbols, they should be unblemished. Kei Komuro is seen as a blemish.”
The reason for the end of the engagement? As had been rumoured earlier this month, it is claimed that it surrounds Kei’s lack of disclosing his family’s financial situation to Mako’s father, Prince Akishino after rumours began circulating. As Princess Mako would no longer be a member of the Imperial Family, Kei, who has worked as a legal assistant, would be expected to support his wife and family.
Shukan Gendai also reported that Kei met Mako’s father six times after the financial rumours began circulating. Kei reportedly told the Prince that he did not know about any financial problems of his mother and the claim against her. This was later proved to be untrue.
His financial situation has been the subject of rumours for months including a claim that his mother owed her former partner £29,000 for the latter funding Kei’s university education.
The Times was told by a veteran royal journalist that is Kei was expecting to receive money from Mako, then he was mistaken, and it was “totally wrong.” Additionally, Princess Mako would receive 150 million yen of taxpayer money; however, this was to “cover security and to retain Mako’s dignity as an ex-member of the imperial family.”
The Imperial Household of Japan was quoted in the magazine saying that this amounts to “marriage fraud.”