Japan’s Princess Mako turns 30 days ahead of wedding

Princess Mako turned 30 on Saturday, just days ahead of her marriage to commoner Kei Komuro next week.

The princess, a niece of Emperor Naruhito, is continuing to prepare for her marriage, which will see her leave the imperial family, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

Under current rules, female members of the imperial family lose their royal status once they marry a commoner. The princess is expected to move to New York, where Komuro, also 30, works at a law firm.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, no birthday event was planned for the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko.

Over the past year, Mako has joined her parents and younger sister, Princess Kako, in talking virtually with experts from various fields, including those studying infectious diseases and child care.

As her last official duty as a member of the imperial family, Mako served as honorary president of an international ceramics festival in Gifu Prefecture until Sunday. She sent a video message to the event’s opening ceremony late last month.

“I remember the princess preparing with care for every single duty, and working very earnestly,” said Takaharu Kachi, a top aide to the Akishino family.

In August, Mako quit as an affiliate researcher at the University of Tokyo’s University Museum and as a doctoral student at International Christian University.

She will also step down as president of the Japan Kogei Association and honorary president of the Japan Tennis Association on Tuesday.

Mako and Komuro, also 30, will register their marriage with a municipal office on Tuesday. She will later join Komuro at a news conference as Mako Komuro.

According to the Imperial Household Agency, there remains no major change in her condition since being diagnosed with complex posttraumatic stress disorder.

Mako met with her uncle Emperor Naruhito and aunt Empress Masako on Friday before her controversial marriage to Komuro.

The princess visited the couple at the Imperial Palace alone in lieu of the “Choken no Gi” rite, an official meeting with the emperor and empress on the occasion of a marriage involving a royal member. She skipped a series of ceremonies amid public concern over an unresolved financial dispute involving Komuro’s mother.

The princess met with the emperor and the empress for about an hour, and the couple’s only daughter, Princess Aiko, later joined them, according to the agency. Mako is also scheduled to meet with her grandparents — former Emperor Akihito and former Empress Michiko — on Monday.

Komuro, who took the New York state bar examination in July, is expected to find out the result of the exam by mid-December. He has won a writing competition sponsored by the New York State Bar Association for law school students, according to its website.

The princess first needs to create a family registry with Komuro as an ordinary citizen and apply for a passport as imperial family members do not possess them.

After the marriage is registered, she is expected to move to a Tokyo condominium while preparing for a new life in the United States.

The marriage between the princess and Komuro, who attended the same university in Tokyo, has been delayed for nearly three years amid reports detailing the financial dispute between Komuro’s mother and her former fiance that stirred public controversy.

The princess and Komuro were unofficially engaged in September 2017, with their wedding initially scheduled to take place on Nov. 4, 2018. But the agency announced in February the same year the postponement of ritual ceremonies that usually accompany marriages involving members of the imperial household.

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Author: Shirley