Photo/IllutrationPrincess Mako leaves her workplace in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward on Feb. 6, while Kei Komuro departs from work in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward on the same day. (The Asahi Shimbun)

Princess Mako and Kei Komuro have postponed their wedding for two years, saying they need more time to prepare for the highly anticipated nuptials, the Imperial Household Agency said on Feb. 6.

The marriage between the eldest granddaughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko and Komuro, who works at a law office in Tokyo, was initially scheduled for November this year, but it has been put off until 2020.

“We came to realize that we do not have time to make sufficient preparations,” the couple said in a statement released on Feb. 6.

According to the agency, the couple, both 26, decided against holding the wedding in 2019 because a series of rituals will be held that year for Emperor Akihito’s abdication of the Chrysanthemum Throne and the subsequent enthronement of Crown Prince Naruhito.

Postponements of imperial wedding ceremonies and related events are rare. And when delays do occur, they are usually caused by outside forces, such as natural disasters, not reasons attributed to the imperial family members or related people.

Weekly magazines have been reporting about money troubles within Komuro’s family since December 2017. The articles have raised concerns among some within the agency about the marriage, according to sources.

However, the agency has declined to comment about the reports.

“The marriage is an issue between the two (Mako and Komuro),” the agency’s grand steward, Shinichiro Yamamoto, said at a news conference on Jan. 25. “I have nothing to say about the information in the weekly magazines.”

Mako and Komuro were classmates at International Christian University in Tokyo.

In May 2017, media organizations reported that the two were planning to get married. Since they had already decided to wed, they announced their engagement at a news conference on Sept. 3, much earlier than initially scheduled.

“I will be happy if I can make a family that is warm, comfortable and full of smiles,” Mako said at that time.

They were scheduled to hold “nosai no gi,” a ritual in which their families exchange betrothal gifts, on March 4, 2018, and the wedding ceremony at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo on Nov. 4.

Preparations for nosai no gi were proceeding within the agency.

However, a person related to the matter said, “Considering public opinion, both families reached a judgment that it would be better to postpone the marriage.”

In their statement released on Feb. 6, the couple said, “We were in too much of a hurry about various things.”

They also said they had repeatedly consulted with their parents and others, and decided it would be appropriate to spend more sufficient time on the necessary preparations.

The couple reported their decision to Akihito and Michiko, the agency said.

In mid-January, Mako’s parents, Prince Fumihito and Princess Kiko, met with Akihito and Michiko during a sudden nighttime visit to the emperor’s residence at the Imperial Palace.

Several days later, Komuro visited the residence of Fumihito’s family. After that, Kiko and Mako visited the emperor’s residence, followed by another trip to the emperor’s residence by Fumihito and Kiko.

Such frequent trips to the emperor’s residence are rare, and the visits spread a sense of anxiety within the Imperial Household Agency, sources said.

On Feb. 6, the day the wedding postponement was announced, Mako left her workplace slightly after 6 p.m. and entered a car in the parking lot of the building.

Media photographers snapped photos of her, and she bowed her head to them with a tense look on her face.

Komuro left his workplace slightly after 6:30 p.m. on the same day. He bowed to reporters there and was asked to comment on the wedding postponement. He did not respond.

On the morning of Feb. 7, the couple went to work as usual.

Komuro left his apartment in Yokohama slightly after 7 a.m. With a soft facial expression, he said “good morning” to the reporters there, bowed to them and entered a taxi.

Mako arrived at her workplace by car at 10:50 a.m. She bowed to reporters from inside the vehicle.