TOKYO – The official announcement of the engagement of Japanese Emperor Akihito’s eldest granddaughter, Princess Mako, was postponed owing to torrential rains that have killed 7 people and left 14 missing in the southwestern part of the country.
The announcement – scheduled for Saturday – has been pushed to an unconfirmed date on account of the rains, which devastated the island of Kyushu, officials of the Imperial Household Agency told NHK news.
Japan’s national media had reported Mako’s engagement in May; however, the formal announcement would have taken place on Saturday, when the princess was set to hold a press conference, along with her would-be fiance, 25-year-old legal assistant Kei Komuro.
Mako’s upcoming marriage will further shrink Japan’s imperial family as women who marry out of royalty lose their royal status.
Torrential rains in southwestern Japan have caused floods and landslides and led to the evacuation of over 500,000 people in the Fukuoka and Oita prefectures.
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, it’s one of the worst natural disasters to hit the country in recent decades.
Most of Kyushu continues to be on high alert as the rains are expected to continue through Friday, although with less intensity.