Japan's Princess Mako has delayed her wedding — again.
On Friday, the princess reaffirmed her intention to marry her college sweetheart, admitting, however, that the wedding date still remains unsettled.
The 29-year old niece of Emperor Naruhito issued a statement through the Imperial Household Agency, saying she and fiancé Kei Komuro view marriage as a "necessary choice" but established no new date.
"For us, marriage is a necessary choice to live and honor our hearts," the couple's joint statement read. "We are irreplaceable to each other and we can lean on each other in happy and unhappy times."
"It is still difficult to announce anything specific regarding our future plans at this time, but we will consult with our families in order to proceed," their statement concluded.
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Princess Mako blamed "immaturity" when she postponed her wedding for the first time in February 2018. “It is because of our immaturity and we just regret it,” the couple said in a statement at the time. “I wish to think about marriage more deeply and concretely and give sufficient time to prepare our marriage and for after the marriage.”
In May 2017, the eldest granddaughter of Emperor Emeritus Akihito announced plans to renounce her royal status in order to wed Komuro, a commoner who worked at a law firm.
The couple met while attending a study-abroad event at a Tokyo restaurant. Both were students at Tokyo's International Christian University at the time. Komuro proposed over dinner in December 2013, and their long-distance relationship continued undetected while Mako studied for her master's degree overseas, graduating in Art Museum and Gallery Studies in January 2016 from England's Leicester University.
Mako and Komuro formally met the press in Sept. 2017 to discuss their wedding plans. Expectations at that time were that their wedding would occur in November 2018.
In February 2018, however, the Imperial Household announced the postponement of their wedding until 2020. According to Japanese media, the delay was announced after reports surfaced of a dispute over money between Komuro's mother and her former fiancé concerning his having financed Komuro's education.
At the time of the 2018 postponement, Mako blamed "immaturity" for the delay. Now, both previously announced dates have now come and gone.
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Mako's latest delay comes just five days after her father Crown Prince Akishino was formally installed as first in line to Japan's Chrysanthemum Throne. The ceremony, making him his brother's immediate successor under Japan's males-only ascension to the throne, occurred after an unanticipated seven-month delay and in much-reduced circumstances due to the pandemic.
Last fall, the father of the bride publically urged his daughter to update the public on her marriage plans.
At his birthday press conference last November, he responded to a question by saying he believed "something must be announced about it."
Mako's statement on Friday added that she felt this was an appropriate time to express her thoughts concerning marriage, plans and having consulted her parents, received their approval.
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