Japan's Princess Mako formally announces engagement

Both met in 2012 when they were students at International Christian University in Tokyo and said they had been dating for about five years.

Speaking at a press conference Princess Mako said that what attracted her to Komuro was "his bright smiles like the sun".

The two met during their freshman year and became close in 2012 when they took part in an orientation session for study overseas programs.

Mako's renouncement of royal status will make her the 8th member of the Imperial family to renounce status in order to marry since World War II.

The official announcement was made in a news conference on Sunday by the Imperial Household Agency.

Princess Mako (right) is engaged to Kei Komuro (left).

But women are not allowed to succeed Japan's throne, meaning Princess Mako will lose her royal status once she weds 25-year-old Mr Komuro, who is a commoner.

Princess Mako, a granddaughter of the emperor and empress, expressed delight with her engagement to her fiance, Kei Komuro, as the young couple exchanged smiles at a news conference in Tokyo on September 3. "I would like to have a family that is always calm and peaceful", he added.

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Sunday was picked for the announcement as about two months have passed since the disaster and in light of the schedules of the Emperor, the Empress and the parents of Princess Mako, as well as the impact on Komuro's work.

Princess Mako said she had been preparing for the change of her rank since she was little. Komuro proposed in 2013 and is well liked by the royal family. She now works as a researcher at a museum at the University of Tokyo.

Besides working at a law firm in Tokyo, Komuro is also studying business law at Hitotsubashi University's Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy.

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

Komuro and Mako will have to go through several more rites until the wedding, which will be 2018, the same year as her grandfather will relinquish the throne.

Mako has since introduced him to her parents, Prince Akishino, second in line to the Chrysanthemum throne, and Princess Kiko, as someone she wished to 'share her future with'.

Prince Hisahito is now third in line to the throne after his uncle, Crown Prince Naruhito, and his father Prince Akishino.

  • Michelle Webb