Princess Mako celebrates 22nd birthday

Image copyright AFP Image caption Princess Mako has been a fixture at the centre of Japanese royal politics Princess Mako, the youngest child of Japan’s Emperor Akihito, has celebrated her 22nd birthday. It is…

Princess Mako celebrates 22nd birthday

Image copyright AFP Image caption Princess Mako has been a fixture at the centre of Japanese royal politics

Princess Mako, the youngest child of Japan’s Emperor Akihito, has celebrated her 22nd birthday.

It is the final milestone for the young woman, who will marry for the first time in April when she marries a fellow human rights lawyer.

Princess Mako was born in 1989 and will become a commoner when she marries Kei Komuro, 29.

Speaking to Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper, she said she was “very happy” for the special occasion.

Her father said his daughter was preparing for her “special day”.

He told a royal magazine earlier this month: “I am thinking about every detail of my daughter’s wedding day and every day that will pass since then.”

‘Get married for the same reason’

Image copyright AFP Image caption Princess Mako’s older sister, Princess Aiko, will marry Prince Fujimori

Princess Mako’s presence at Emperor Akihito’s side has been felt especially keenly by Japan’s female population – though he did, on her 21st birthday, mark the occasion by issuing a statement on women’s rights that stressed his distaste for “sexism and discrimination based on gender”.

His senior daughter, Princess Aiko, will marry a prince – the grandson of former dictator Gen. Hideki Tojo – in November.

Mr Emperor Akihito has not ascended the throne since 1989 but has cut back on his public duties in recent years, prompting the next-in-line, Crown Prince Naruhito, to assume greater responsibility.

Emperor Akihito’s announcement in August that he was stepping down led to massive protests.

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