Solo royal life tests the patience of many in Japan

An inquiry into allegations of misconduct against the leading members of the Japanese royal family – including Princess Mako, 27, and Princess Emiko, 29 – concluded in July that there was no evidence of…

Solo royal life tests the patience of many in Japan

An inquiry into allegations of misconduct against the leading members of the Japanese royal family – including Princess Mako, 27, and Princess Emiko, 29 – concluded in July that there was no evidence of a plot to hurt the younger princess. However, the head of the Imperial Household Agency, who was reportedly the one who initiated the inquiry, has since stepped down in the wake of the negative publicity surrounding the princess’s love life.

Japan’s population is shrinking and aging, but the country’s declining royal family remains of enormous fascination for many, with its members free to marry foreigners and live openly in the public eye. Japanese marriage regulations, which are largely written into imperial law, have generally kept Japan’s founding principles intact: Japanese men can marry from across the ocean, while women are largely barred from outside marriage, even with partners of similar age. The marriage of Princess Mako, the granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, could have caused the last vestiges of traditional rule to crumble, a possibility that the government has tried to avert at all costs.

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