Japan Princess Mako’s boyfriend bids to clear path for wedding

This file picture taken on September 3, 2017 shows Princess Mako (R), the eldest daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, and her fiancee Kei Komuro (L), during a press conference to announce their engagement at the Akasaka East Residence in Tokyo. (AFP)
Updated 22 January 2019

Japan Princess Mako’s boyfriend bids to clear path for wedding

  • Princess Mako is the eldest daughter of Prince Akishino, Naruhito’s brother, and Princess Kiko
  • The marriage was dramatically called off last February

TOKYO: The boyfriend of Japan’s Princess Mako insisted Tuesday his family had no financial difficulties hanging over them, after reports of a unpaid loan apparently forced a postponement to a fairytale wedding between the two college sweethearts.
Kei Komuro and Mako, the eldest granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, had been scheduled to become formally engaged in a traditional Japanese court ceremony last year before a royal wedding planned in late 2018.
But the marriage was dramatically called off last February amid reports Komuro’s family had run into financial difficulties, with his mother failing to repay a four-million-yen ($36,000) loan from a former fiance of hers.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Komuro said: “My mother and I both understand that the (financial) support from the ex-fiance of my mother has been settled.”
Komuro said that when his mother and her fiance split up in 2012, the man had said the money he had offered them during the engagement did not need to be repaid.
But he changed his tune the year after, according to Komuro, demanding the money back in a letter in August 2013.
Komuro’s mother met her former partner and told him she could not repay the money and there was no further request.
Komuro said he and his mother were then “bewildered” when reports surfaced in December 2017 that the ex-fiance still wanted his cash back, just two months after the royal engagement was announced.
“My mother and I both appreciate the support we received from the former fiance, and we will make efforts to gain understanding from him,” Komuro’s statement concluded.
In February 2018 the pair postponed the wedding until 2020, saying they needed more time to prepare, but rumors swirled in Japanese gossip magazines that there was more to the delay than simple money problems.
“We have come to realize that we do not have enough time to prepare for the ceremonies and our new life before the wedding planned in autumn,” Mako said in a statement released through the imperial household agency at the time.
She said the announcement of their planned engagement was made “too hastily” after the news leaked out.
“We should have thought carefully whether the pace was actually right for us ... Now, we’d like to have the marriage, a major life event, in a better way.”
She apologized to those planning the royal wedding, blaming the couple’s “immaturity.” They are both 27.
Mako’s father Prince Akishino told reporters in November the pair “should take proper measures” if they still hope to get married.
Unless they “clear the problem,” we cannot hold the ritual for a formal engagement, he said.
The Japanese royal family has a packed schedule this year, as the 85-year-old Emperor Akihito abdicates on April 30 — the first time for more than two centuries that a Japanese emperor has stepped down.
His eldest son Naruhito is set to ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne a day later.
Mako is the eldest daughter of Prince Akishino, Naruhito’s brother, and Princess Kiko.


Alaska man discovers 50-year-old message in bottle from Russian Navy

Updated 19 August 2019

Alaska man discovers 50-year-old message in bottle from Russian Navy

  • Then Russian Navy Capt. Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko wrote the letter when he was a 36-year-old aboard the Sulak
ANCHORAGE, Alaska: A man discovered a 50-year-old letter in a bottle from the Russian Navy on the shores of western Alaska.
Tyler Ivanoff found the handwritten Russian letter early this month while gathering firewood near Shishmaref about 600 miles (966 kilometers) northwest of Anchorage, television station KTUU reported.
“I was just looking for firewood when I found the bottle,” Tyler Ivanoff said. “When I found the bottle, I had to use a screwdriver to get the message out.”
Ivanoff shared his discovery on Facebook where Russian speakers translated the message to be a greeting from a Cold War Russian sailor dated June 20, 1969. The message included an address and a request for a response from the person who finds it.
Reporters from the state-owned Russian media network, Russia-1, tracked down the original writer, Capt. Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko, KTUU reported.
He was skeptical he wrote the note until he saw his signature on the bottom.
“There — exactly!” he exclaimed.
The message was sent while the then 36-year-old was aboard the Sulak, Botsanenko said. Botsanenko shed tears when the Russian television reporter told him the Sulak was sold for scrap in the 1990s.
Botsanenko also showed the reporter some souvenirs from his time on the ship, including the autograph of the wife of a famous Russian spy and Japanese liquor bottles, the latter kept over his wife’s protests.
Ivanoff’s discovery of the bottle was first reported by Nome radio station KNOM.