The parents of Princess Mako of Japan have informed the mother of her commoner fiance that they will not permit the wedding to go ahead until a financial dispute within his family is solved.
Underlining their concern at the union, Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko have also asked Kei Komuro, their possible future son-in-law, to present a "life plan", including details of his future career, Kyodo News reported yesterday.
The 26-year-old princess is the eldest grandchild of the Emperor Akihito and caught royal-watchers offguard in September when she announced her engagement to Komuro, whom she had met at university in Tokyo. Since graduating, Komuro, also 26, has been working as an assistant at a law firm in Tokyo.
The couple announced that they had received the Emperor's blessing and would marry in November. In February, however, those plans were abruptly put on hold, with the Imperial Household Agency announcing that the couple were delaying the wedding on the grounds of a "lack of time for preparation".
It was soon reported in Japan's tabloid media, however, that the real reason for the delay was a financial dispute between Komuro's mother and her former partner. The reports claim that she borrowed the cost of her son's education from her former fiance and has not yet repaid the money.
Komuro's mother has had several face-to-face meetings with the princess' parents, with Prince Akishino saying that the wedding and the couple's subsequent life together could be impacted by her reported debts.
In reply, Kyodo reported, Komuro's mother said she did not consider the money to be a "debt" but she was seeking discussions with her former fiance to conclude the matter.
Komuro was given a police escort as he left Tokyo on Tuesday to start a three-year law course at New York's Fordham University, where he intends to take the state bar exam before returning to Tokyo to pursue his career.
Sources have claimed that the couple plan to stay in close contact while Komuro is in New York and intend to follow through on their plans to marry.
The Imperial Household declined to comment.