'Horrified and saddened': Former Princess breaks silence about rocky road to marriage 'Horrified and saddened': Former Princess breaks silence about rocky road to marriage
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'Horrified and saddened': Former Princess breaks silence about rocky road to marriage

    NHK World
    Correspondent
    Japan's Princess Mako has finally married her commoner boyfriend and left the Imperial Family. The engagement was postponed for more than four years due to questions of suitability. Mako and her new husband Komuro Kei spoke about the unprecedented public scrutiny they faced on their path to marriage.

    "I know that there are many opinions about my marriage with Kei," Mako told reporters on Tuesday. "Kei is irreplaceable to me. The marriage was necessary choice for us to live our lives while carefully protecting our hearts."

    "I love Mako," said Komuro. "We have been through a lot, but we were able to get through it thanks to support from the people around us."

    Mako and Komuro Kei held a news conference at a hotel in Tokyo on Tuesday after getting married.
    Watch Video 10:05

    Mako and Kei Komuro held a news conference on Tuesday after officially getting married that morning. In their first joint media appearance since September 2017, the couple spoke of the "defamation and slander" their families have had to endure.

    "Kei was said to have made decisions only by himself and there were one-sided speculations saying that he was ignoring my own feelings," said Mako. "I was horrified, scared, and saddened by the fact that false information has been taken as fact and that unfounded stories have spread."

    Mako at the news conference
    Mako said, "I have been helped, watched and supported by many people for the past thirty years. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to those who have worked with me."

    According to the Imperial Household Agency, Mako has been suffering from "complex post-traumatic stress disorder" due to the intense public pressure surrounding her marriage.

    The newlyweds did not take any questions during the news conference, which the Household Agency said was due to the contents of some questions they had received in advance. Instead, they offered answers in a seven-page-long document released afterwards.

    Four year postponement

    Mako and Komuro's road to marriage was anything but smooth. The two met as students at the International Christian University in Tokyo and dated for about five years. The engagement was publicly announced in 2017 but the couple's plans were postponed after the media started reporting about financial troubles concerning Komuro's mother.

    The following year, Komuro moved to the United States to study law while Mako remained in Japan. But the couple were apparently determined to be united. Last month, Komuro returned to Japan after securing a position with a law firm in New York. The Household Agency announced the couple would be finally getting married, after three years apart.

    Komuro touched briefly on his mother's financial issues.

    "I would like to deal with it on behalf of my mother," he said. "I will do my best to settle the problem."

    Komuro Kei at the news conference
    Komuro thanked the people closest to him for their support over the past years.

    No wedding dress, no traditional ceremonies

    Due to the level of public attention, the couple opted not to hold any of the traditional ceremonies that typically accompany an imperial marriage. Mako also turned down a payment of more than $1.3 million which female Imperial Family members are entitled to receive. The Household Agency says she is the first family member in postwar history to decline both the ceremonies and the payment.

    The agency says the couple will move to New York as soon as Mako obtains a passport and visa. Komuro is currently waiting for the results of the US bar exam, which he needs to pass in order to practice law. Mako is expected to also work in New York.

    "I hope to build a warm family with Mako," said Komuro. "I will keep supporting her in any way I can."

    "I believe there are many people who are hurt and are having a difficult time," Mako said. "I hope for a society where more people can live their lives while taking care of their hearts, with help and support from the people around them."