Japan's Princess Mako announces engagement to commoner

Kei Komuro and his future bride Princess Mako address a media conference in Tokyo to announce their engagement

This means Princess Mako, the daughter of Fumihito, Prince Akishino, and Kiko, Princess Akishino, will have to relinquish her royal status and be registered as an ordinary citizen following her marriage to Komuro. The two became close in 2012 when they had their orientation session for an exchange program overseas.

Referring to the princess's achievement in fostering momentum for the Japanese tennis circle, Watanabe said, "It's regrettable that she leaves the imperial household at this time, but I wish her happiness for many years to come".

The official announcement of the engagement had been scheduled in early July after the Japanese media were reporting about them in mid-May, but the Imperial Household Agency chose to postpone the event due to torrential rains that were striking southwestern Japan.

On Sunday morning, Princess Mako introduced Komuro to the Emperor and Empress at the Imperial couple's residence at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward.

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According to the Imperial House Law, Princess Mako, the elder daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, will renounce her status as a member of the Imperial family to marry Komuro.

Princess Mako, the eldest grandchild of Japanese Emperor Akihito, officially announced her engagement with Kei Komuro, a former university classmate. During the program, Komuro went to the University of California in Los Angeles, while Princess Mako studied at the University of Edinburgh.

"He is a honest, strong-minded, hard worker, and he has a big heart".

The Princess graduated from university with a master's degree in art museum and gallery studies and now works as a researcher at a museum at the University of Tokyo. He proposed in December 2013, telling her, "Let's get married in the future". She now works as a researcher at a museum at the University of Tokyo.

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Mr Komuro is studying business law and works at a law firm.

Following the upcoming marriage, Princess Mako will leave the Imperial Family.

The announcement was originally expected in July, but was postponed after a rain disaster hit western Japan.

Princess Mako's engagement is expected to be announced in the coming weeks, after which an official date will be set.

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Emperor Akihito, 83, is planning on retiring from the royal throne in 2018.

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