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Japan’s princess dumps royalty to marry a commoner

Japanese Princess and eldest granddaughter of Japan’s Emperor Akihito, Mako, has reportedly dumped her place in the Palace to marry her heartthrob, a commoner, who was her classmate.

Mako who is one of only four royal grandchildren (her younger sister, Kako, her brother, Hisahito, and Crown Prince Naruhito’s daughter, Aiko), will further deplete the royal family since she must become a commoner, observers said.

The announcement of her wedding to a commoner aired by public broadcaster NHK, also raised concerns that the prince may also be the last, following thee shrinking royal population, which mirrors the broader aging of Japanese society. Ten-year-old Hisahito is one of four heirs to the throne behind Akihito’s two middle-aged sons, whose wives are in their early 50s, and Akihito’s octogenarian brother, Masahito.
Reuters reports that Mako’s engagement to Kei Komuro, who works in a Tokyo law office, comes after Japanese lawmakers in June approved a bill to allow Akihito to step down, the first abdication by a Japanese monarch since 1817.
Mako and Komuro graduated from International Christian University. She has a master’s degree from the University of Leicester and has been working as a researcher at a museum. Her fiance once served as a “Prince of the Sea” to promote tourism near Tokyo, according to media reports.
A year ago, the first emperor not to be considered divine said in a rare public appearance that he feared age would make it hard to fulfill his duties. The 83-year-old has had heart surgery and been treated for prostate cancer.
But the legislation, which only applies to Akihito and not future emperors, makes no reference to the controversial topics of whether to revise a males-only succession law or to allow women to stay in the imperial family after marriage. Conservatives fear doing so would be a first step to letting females inherit the throne.

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