World News

Japan's Princess Mako postpones marriage to Kei Komuro

Posted February 6, 2018 6:08 a.m. EST

— Japan's Princess Mako has postponed her engagement to fiancé Kei Komuro until 2020 due to "lack of preparation," Imperial Household sources told CNN.

The couple, both 26, had planned to become formally engaged in a traditional ceremony on March 4, ahead of their wedding on November 4.

Princess Mako has put those plans on hold because she "came to recognize the lack of time to make sufficient preparations," the Imperial Household Agency said.

The wedding was to be a momentous occasion for the country and the Japanese royal family, led by Emperor Akihito, who plans to abdicate in April 2019.

Excitement swept the country when the Imperial Household announced last year that plans were underway for the princess to marry a commoner she'd met five years earlier at the International Christian University in Tokyo.

Before his introduction as the royal fiancé, Komuro was better known as the "Prince of the Sea," after appearing as a student in a beach tourism campaign for the city of Fujisawa, south of Tokyo.

Under centuries-old Japanese law, the marriage would require Princess Mako to give up her royal status. The last royal to do so was her aunt, Sayako, the only daughter of Emperor Akhito, when she married town planner Yoshiki Kuroda in 2005.

Imperial law only allows the throne to be passed to male heirs, of which there are only three: Crown Prince Naruhito, his younger brother Crown Prince Akishino, and Akishino's son, Prince Hisahito.

Naruhito is set to succeed his father on May 1, 2019, becoming the 126th Emperor to ascend to Japan's Chrysanthemum Throne.

In addition to Princess Mako, there are six other unmarried princesses. They'd, too, lose their royal status if they were to marry commoners, a possibility that could leave the imperial family without enough members to carry out its public duties.