Japan princess to wed commoner, forcing her to quit royal family

Prince Akishino (L), the 2nd son of Japan's emperor Akihito and his 1st daughter Princess Mako are seen on a local horse-carriage at Bugac Puszta, about 100 km south from Hungarian capital Budapest, in this August 20, 2017 photo, during the second day of their non-official visit in Hungary. (AFP)
Updated 03 September 2017

Japan princess to wed commoner, forcing her to quit royal family

TOKYO: Princess Mako, the eldest granddaughter of Japanese Emperor Akihito, will wed a former classmate, the Imperial Household said on Sunday, confirming a marriage that will further deplete the royal family since she must become a commoner.
The announcement was aired by public broadcaster NHK.
Mako is one of only four royal grandchildren. The other three are her younger sister, Kako, her brother, Hisahito, and Crown Prince Naruhito’s daughter, Aiko.
The shrinking royal population, which mirrors the broader aging of Japanese society, has raised concerns that the prince may also be the last.
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.
The 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.
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 fulfil 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.
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.


‘Several’ killed in California backyard shooting

Updated 7 min 25 sec ago

‘Several’ killed in California backyard shooting

  • Dooley said police were looking for surveillance footage and witnesses to track the suspects

LOS ANGELES: Several people were shot dead while watching a football game at a central California home on Sunday, police said.

Police were called to the scene after at least two people snuck into the backyard of a home in Fresno, around 200 miles (320 kilometers) north of Los Angeles, and opened fire.

“What we found were several individuals deceased in the backyard,” said Fresno police spokesman Bill Dooley.

Local media outlets reported that four people were killed. Police have not released a death toll but said nine people had been shot in the attack.

Dooley said police were looking for surveillance footage and witnesses to track the suspects.