Japan's Princess Mako announces she'll marry a commoner

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Princess Mako's 83-year-old grandfather, Emperor Akihito, is expected to abdicate next year - Japan's first abdication in two centuries.

Under a controversial Japanese law female imperial family members forfeit their status upon marriage to a commoner, whereas male members do not.

Princess Mako, the eldest granddaughter of Japanese Emperor Akihito, will Wednesday a former classmate, the Imperial Household said on Sunday, confirming a marriage that will further deplete the royal family since she must become a commoner.

Mako and fiancé Kei Komuro, both 25, confirmed the news at a press conference on Sunday after news of the planned engagement was first reported in May.

"Princess Mako watches me calmly like the moon", Komuro said.

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The Imperial Household said that Komuro was a student at the International Christian University in Tokyo, which Princess Mako also attended. She also received a Master's degree in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester in 2016. Of his dreams and aspirations, Komuro said, "Right now, it is important to take on the challenges of work and study in front of me".

We can't wait for a royal wedding, and we expect Her Imperial Highness Princess Mako of Akishino will be breaking down some royal barriers as she makes her way down the aisle. Komuro replied Princess Mako "has been quietly watching over me like the moon".

Mr Komuro proposed to Princess Mako after dinner one evening in December 2013. The couple started dating even before they went overseas and continued their communication after.

Princess Mako has since introduced him to her parents, Fumihito (Prince Akishino), the second-in-line to the Chrysanthem Throne, and Kiko (Princess Akishino), as someone she wished to "share her future with". But due to the unfortunate torrential rain that flooded northern Kyushu that month, the royal family chose to postpone the announcement. The law does not apply to male members of the royal family.

When the princess, in a fetching mint green dress, was asked about what her fiance means to her, she described Komuro as a person who warmly encourages her. However, she will lose the status of being a member of royal family.

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