TOKYO (TR) – The Imperial Household Agency (IHA) has refuted speculation that the postponement of the wedding of Princess Mako is related to the emergence of tabloid reports indicating that the family of her fiance is embroiled in financial trouble.
On Tuesday, the IHA said that Princess Mako, 26, will delay her wedding to Kei Komuro, also 26, from later this year until 2020. The reason provided for the delay was “lack of time to make sufficient preparations.”
The timing of the announcement comes several weeks after weekly tabloid Shukan Josei (Dec. 26) reported that the mother of Komuro, who lives in Yokohama, has not repaid what was apparently a loan of 4 million yen for her son’s education to a former male acquaintance. Other tabloids, including Shukan Bunshun and Shukan Shincho, subsequently ran similar stories.
According to the reports, the money was to be repaid when their relationship ended. However, Komuro’s mother viewed the money as a gift.
The IHA said that the delay in the wedding is not related to the magazine reports. “The delay was not influenced [by the tabloid reports],” said Takaharu Kachi, the IHA’s supervisor of household affairs or princes, according to the Sankei Shimbun (Feb. 7). “It was a matter of there not being enough time to prepare for events and life [after the ceremony].”
In spite of that explanation, it appears there could be something to the speculation. According to Nippon News Network (Feb. 8), Komuro’s mother has visited the imperial residence on the grounds of the Akasaka Estate, where Princes Mako lives, on six occasions since the emergence of the tabloid reports.
In early December, Princess Mako was seen with her fiance at a restaurant in the town of Hayama, Kanagawa Prefecture. However, the pair has not been seen in public since the reports surfaced.
“Start our new life together”
Last year, the IHA announced that Princess Mako, the eldest granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, would marry Komuro in a ceremony at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo in November of this year.
Regarding the change in plans, Princess Mako issued a statement, explaining that the preparation for the wedding had become a time-consuming task, according to the Mainchi Shimbun (Feb. 7). She also apologized for any difficulties that she and her finance, whom she met in college, may have caused.
“We would like to consider the postponement of our wedding at this time as a good opportunity that provides us with time to plan for the start of our new life together, and we would like to spend this time until our wedding with great care,” she wrote.