TOKYO – Japan’s Prince Fumihito, younger brother of Emperor Naruhito and current heir to the throne, said he supported the controversial engagement of his first-born, Princess Mako, at a Monday press conference on his 55th birthday.
“I approve of them marrying. (...) If that is what they really want, then I think it is something that I must respect as a father,” Fumihito said at the appearance published Monday by the Imperial Household Agency. Their engagement has been pending for years over a financial dispute of the mother of the groom.
Princess Mako, 29, and fiance Kei Komuro, 29, whom she met in college, announced their engagement in 2017 amid a huge media uproar in Japan. They were to be married on Nov. 4, 2018 in Tokyo, but the wedding was postponed until 2020 due to an alleged lack of time for preparations.
The postponement of the link occurred shortly after it was learned that Komuro’s mother had a financial dispute with her ex-partner, although the imperial house dissociated the information and the decision.
In a statement published earlier this month, Princess Mako expressed her determination to move forward with the marriage, which has yet to be formalized.
Prince Fumihito said at the recent press conference that this is because the dispute has to be resolved first, something he considers key to gaining public support.
“From my point of view, I think they are not in a situation where many people are convinced and satisfied” with their marriage, said the prince, adding that his daughter is also aware of it, and urged his future son-in-law to adopt “visible” measures to solve the problem.
Komuro, a law graduate, has been out of Japan since 2018, following the postponement of the marriage. In August that year, he began studying at Fordham University Law School in New York, where he is expected to finish his studies in 2021 and sit the exam that would allow him to practice law there.