Japan Crown Prince Akishino turns 55, approves of Princess Mako's plan to marry

Japan's Crown Prince Akishino (centre) poses for with his wife Crown Princess Kiko (second right) and their children, Princess Mako (left), Princess Kako and Prince Hisahito at their Akasaka Estate residence in Tokyo on Nov 14, 2020. PHOTO: AFP/IMPERIAL HOUSEHOLD AGENCY OF JAPAN

TOKYO (THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Crown Prince Akishino turned 55 on Monday (Nov 30) and during a press conference held ahead of the occasion he said he approves of his eldest daughter, Princess Mako, 29, marrying her de facto fiance, Mr Kei Komuro, also 29.

Since the marriage was postponed, this was the first time that the Crown Prince expressed his approval of the marriage, although he did not say when the wedding would take place.

At a press conference two years ago, he said the wedding ceremony cannot be held, "unless there is a situation in which many people are content (with the marriage) and happy for them".

He had in mind the financial trouble involving the Komuro family and having the Komuros take necessary measures.

"If they have a firm resolve (to marry), it should be respected," the Crown Prince said this time, citing a line from Article 24 of the Constitution, which says that "marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes".

Crown Prince Akishino added: "It's not a situation where many people feel convinced and happy about the marriage."

Asked about his thoughts on whether the Komuros have taken necessary measures, the crown prince said: "Have they done nothing? That you cannot say."

Still, he went on to say that "it is necessary to make it take visible shape", thereby expressing his request for the Komuros to make a detailed explanation on the issue.

The Crown Prince also said at the press conference that "marriage and engagement are different".

Asked about the schedule ahead, he said: "I will think about it later."

He did not say whether engagement rituals would be held.

Princess Mako and Mr Komuro became unofficially engaged in September 2017. In February 2018, they announced they would postpone their marriage to 2020.

On Nov 13, when the marriage was again postponed, the Princess issued a written statement in which she described the couple's feelings, saying: "The marriage is a necessary choice for us to live a life taking our feelings into consideration."

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