Japan’s Princess Mako rejects $  1.3 million payout ahead of marrying legal assistant: report

The Japanese royal is set to marry her college sweetheart, Kei Komuro, by the end of next year – and she plans to turn down a $ 1.3 million payout from the government, the U.K. Times reported on Thursday.

According to the outlet, the payout is traditionally given to women who lose their royal status upon marriage. Emperor Naruhito’s niece will give up her status to marry the legal assistant. The law in Japan requires a princess to “leave the imperial family upon marriage to a commoner.”

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The outlet noted that the 29-year-old and her beau plan on having a low-key ceremony before the end of 2021. The couple will then reportedly move to the United States where Komuro, 29, intends to work at a New York law firm.

Princess Mako (R), the eldest daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, and Kei Komuro (L), smile during a press conference to announce their engagement at the Akasaka East Residence in Tokyo on Sept. 3, 2017.

Princess Mako (R), the eldest daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, and Kei Komuro (L), smile during a press conference to announce their engagement at the Akasaka East Residence in Tokyo on Sept. 3, 2017. (SHIZUO KAMBAYASHI/AFP via Getty Images)

The pair first met at a restaurant in Tokyo’s Shibuya. They were both students at the International Christian University in Tokyo at the time. It is believed Komuro proposed in December 2013 and the two quietly continued their long-distance relationship as Mako pursued her master’s degree. In 2016, she graduated in art museum and gallery studies at England’s Leicester University.

It wouldn’t be until 2017 when Mako and Komuro went public with their wedding plans. At the time, the Imperial Household Agency confirmed the report to Japanese media who belonged to an exclusive “press club” system. NHK TV reported Mako had introduced Komuro to her parents and they approved.

Unlike royalty in Britain and other European countries, the emperor and his family tend to be cloistered, although they travel abroad and appear at cultural events.

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In 2018, the palace announced that the wedding would be postponed until 2020 because of insufficient preparations. The delay prompted speculation that the decision was related to criticism in tabloids of Komuro’s family background. However, the Imperial Household Agency cited “a series of important events next year.”

Japan's Princess Mako (R) attends the enthronement ceremony where Emperor Naruhito officially proclaimed his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne at the Imperial Palace on Oct. 22, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. 

Japan’s Princess Mako (R) attends the enthronement ceremony where Emperor Naruhito officially proclaimed his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne at the Imperial Palace on Oct. 22, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan.  (Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool/Getty Images)

Mako’s father, Crown Prince Akishino, was formally installed as first in line to Japan’s Chrysanthemum Throne in 2020, People magazine reported. The ceremony, which made him his brother’s immediate successor under Japan’s males-only ascension to the throne, occurred after an unanticipated seven-month delay. The outlet noted there was also “reduced fanfare” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.