Akishino criticises media over reports on daughter

TOKYO • Japan's crown prince yesterday criticised the media for falsities in its coverage of the engagement of his daughter, former princess Mako, who relinquished her royal status to marry a non-royal last month.

The 30-year-old, now known as Mrs Komuro, had postponed her marriage to Mr Kei Komuro, 30, for about three years over opposition stemming from a scandal involving his mother. The former princess was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder during that period.

In accordance with Japanese law, she relinquished her royal status when she married Mr Komuro and left to live with him in New York earlier this month.

Crown Prince Akishino, the emperor's brother, made the remarks - unusually candid for a Japanese royal - at a news briefing to mark his 56th birthday. "If you read the tabloids... there're a lot of things in there that are fabricated, although there are also some opinions we should listen to," he said.

Though Japan was captivated when the former princess and Mr Komuro, who works in a law office in New York, announced their engagement in 2017, revelations of the scandal touched off intense media scrutiny and criticism.

"As for articles on the Internet, there are also lots of comments... and some of them say really terrible things," Prince Akishino said. "There are people who are deeply hurt by this slander."

Some royal watchers said the furore, which even sparked protests against the wedding, might have been toned down with more adept handling by the Imperial Household Agency, which runs the family's lives.

Prince Akishino said the agency does sometimes correct mistaken information on its website but implied more might be needed.

"If you are going to argue against an article, you have to set proper standards and then protest when those are exceeded," he said. "Negative coverage may continue, so I think it is necessary to consider setting such standards in consultation with the (agency)."

He also said the decision to forgo all ceremonies for the marriage had been his, as he felt the scandal - about money loaned to the Komuro family by the former fiance of Mr Komuro's mother - had not been adequately explained.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2021, with the headline Akishino criticises media over reports on daughter. Subscribe