Japan's Princess Mako loses royal status after marrying 'commoner' boyfriend Kei Komuro

Asia Correspondent Debi Edward on the controversy in Japan surrounding Princess Mako's marriage

Japan’s Princess Mako has officially lost her royal status after marrying her 'commoner' boyfriend.

Under Japanese law, female imperial family members give up their status upon marriage to a commoner - but male members do not.

The marriage document for Mako and Kei Komuro, both 30, was submitted by a palace official on Tuesday morning and is now official, the Imperial Household Agency said.

The emperor's niece, who was engaged to her college sweetheart for four years, suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) over the negative media coverage the pair received.

Mako and her then fiancé Kei Komuro look at each other during a press conference in Tokyo in 2017. Credit: AP

Mako, a niece of Emperor Naruhito, and Mr Komuro were classmates at Tokyo’s International Christian University when they announced in September 2017 they intended to marry the following year.

But a financial dispute involving her new mother-in-law surfaced two months later and the wedding was suspended.

The dispute involves whether money Mr Komuro’s mother received from her former fiancé was a loan or a gift.

Emperor Naruhito reads a statement to formally open an session at the upper house of parliament. Credit: AP

Mako’s father, Prince Fumihito, asked Mr Komuro to clarify, and he wrote a statement defending himself but it is still unclear if the dispute has been fully resolved.

Mr Komuro, left for New York in 2018 to study law and only returned to Japan last month.

His hair, tied in a ponytail, captured attention as a bold statement for someone marrying a princess in the tradition-bound imperial family and only added to the criticism.

Kei Komuro arrives at Narita international airport in Narita, near Tokyo. Credit: AP

No longer a royal, Mako has now taken the surname of her husband - an issue affecting most other Japanese women since the law requires married couples to use one surname.

There will be no wedding banquet and there have been no other rituals for the couple.

Mako has also declined the 140 million yen (£893,000) dowry to which she was entitled for leaving the imperial family, palace officials said.

Mako is the first imperial family member since the Second World War to not receive the payment while marrying a commoner and chose to do so because of the criticism over her marrying a man some consider unfit for the princess.

Speaking after the marriage at a press conference on Tuesday, Mako said: "To me, Kei is an irreplaceable person. And for us, marriage was a necessary choice to live while cherishing our hearts.

"Every time there was a one-sided speculation that he wasn't thinking about my feelings, the wrong information was taken up as if it were a true fact for some reason, she added.

"When remembering the fear of a non-factual story spreading, I would feel pain and sadness."

After Naruhito, there are only Mako's father, and his son, Prince Hisahito, in the line of succession.

Emperor Naruhito's daughter, Princess Aiko, cannot inherit the Chrysanthemum Throne as the laws of succession in Japan prevent inheritance by or through women.

A panel of government-appointed experts are discussing a stable succession of the Japanese monarchy, but conservatives still reject female succession or allowing female members to head the imperial family.