Princess Mako, a niece of Japanese Emperor Naruhito, and her boyfriend Kei Komuro are looking to register their marriage in October, a government source said Wednesday, more than three years since their wedding was abruptly postponed following reports of a money dispute involving Komuro's mother.
After submitting the legal papers, the 29-year-old princess is expected to leave her imperial residence and prepare for the start of a new life in the United States, where Komuro, also 29, currently resides and is expected to start working at a law firm, according to the source.
The couple will both turn 30 in October.
Amid public unease about their marriage due to the financial dispute between Komuro's mother and her former fiance, the princess will likely decline a lump-sum payment of up to about 150 million yen ($1.36 million) that is traditionally given to female royal family members upon their departure from the household, another source said earlier.
As the princess has indicated that she will not accept the lump-sum payment, the government is discussing whether it is legally possible under current rules not to offer the payment, which would be financed by taxpayers' money, in accordance with the princess's unprecedented request, according to an agency official.
The usual ritual ceremonies associated with such a marriage are not likely to be held either.
The agency is considering forgoing the rites, such as an official engagement ceremony called "Nosai no Gi," in which the families of the betrothed exchange gifts, and a "Choken no Gi" ceremony to officially meet with the emperor and empress prior to marriage.
It is still possible that she would pay a personal farewell visit to the emperor and Empress Masako, as well as former Emperor Akihito and former Empress Michiko.
Under the current rules, female imperial family members lose their royal status upon marrying commoners.
Since Japanese imperial family members do not have passports, the princess needs to first make a family registry with Komuro as an ordinary citizen before applying for her passport.
While the Imperial Household Agency is arranging to register their marriage in October, it could be delayed to sometime in November depending on factors such as the coronavirus situation, according to the source.
A series of necessary procedures related to their marriage are expected to be concluded by a press conference to mark the Nov. 30 birthday of Crown Prince Fumihito, the father of Princess Mako and the emperor's younger brother, according to the source.
The Imperial Household Agency is studying the possibility of preparing an occasion for the couple to explain their feelings about the marriage.
Komuro and Princess Mako met in 2012 as students at International Christian University in Tokyo and were unofficially engaged in September 2017.
However, the agency announced the postponement of ritual ceremonies related to their marriage in February 2018 following media reports of the money dispute linked to Komuro's mother.