Human Interest

‘True to our hearts’: Japan’s Mako marries Kei Komuro, exits Imperial family

(Update 1: Adds details of press conference, changes headline, complete rewrite)

Tokyo, Oct 26 (EFE).- Japan’s now former princess Mako and her new husband Kei Komuro spoke as newlyweds for the first time on Thursday about the love that unites them and the difficulties surrounding their relationship.

Earlier in the day, Mako civilly married commoner and former university classmate Komuro, both 30, after years of delays, marking her departure from the imperial family.

A spokesman for the Imperial Household Agency confirmed to Efe that the marriage registry documents were delivered to the town hall by an agency official at around 10 am (01:00 GMT), and the niece of Emperor Naruhito was seen off from her imperial family residence in Tokyo by her parents, Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko, and her sister Princess Kako.

In front of the media at the Grand Arc Hotel Hanzomon in Tokyo, near the Imperial Palace, Mako said that Komuro is “irreplaceable” and that they got married in order to be true to their hearts.

Alongside her, Komuro said that he “would like to build a warm family with Mako. At the same time, I would like to continue to support Mako by doing everything I can.”

Mako added that while they are likely to face some tough times, “we will join forces and move forward together.”

Both took the opportunity to thank the public for the support they have received, and apologized for the controversy surrounding an alleged financial dispute between Komuro’s mother and her ex fiance that sparked criticism and for years delayed the wedding.

The former princess also referred to the complex post-traumatic stress disorder that, according to the Imperial Household Agency, she has suffered as a result of the media scrutiny and the criticism received from some social sectors.

“I’m not feeling well now, but I’ve managed to survive to this day with the help of those around me. Kei is also worried about my physical condition and supports me,” she said.

Mako also said in written responses to the media that both were “horrified, scared, and saddened by the fact that false information has been taken as fact and that unfounded stories have spread.”

During their appearance, Mako and Komuro read a prepared speech before the cameras, but decided to respond to questions previously submitted by Japanese and international media in writing as some of the issues caused them anxiety, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

Mako is the first woman in the imperial family to have a civil wedding in postwar Japan.

She has also foregone a traditional lump-sum payment of up to 150 million yen ($1.3 million) given to a family member upon their exit from the household.

By marrying a commoner, and as stipulated by the law that governs the Imperial Household, Mako now leaves the family and takes the name Mako Komuro.

The couple is reportedly set to move to New York where Komuro works in a law firm.

The wedding has again highlighted the constraints that affect women in the Japanese Imperial family, in which only men have inheritance rights to the Chrysanthemum Throne and who can marry commoners without losing their status. EFE


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