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Her Imperial Highness Princes Ayako of Mikasa (27), daughter of the late Prince Takamado of Mikasa, has announced that she will marry Mr. Kei Moriya (32).  She is the second Japanese princess to announce an engagement to a commoner in the last 10 months, and will loose her title and will no longer be a member of the Imperial family after her marriage.  Princess Ayako will marry on October 29, and will receive the equivalent of U.S. $1 million upon her exit from the Imperial family.

Her cousin Princess Mako (granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, and daughter of Prince Akishino second in line to the throne, and elder sister of Prince Hisahito third in line) had announced her engagement to her college classmate Kei Komuro back in September.  However in February this year, the Imperial Household Agency announced that the wedding of Princess Mako, originally set for November, would be postponed until after the abdication of her grandfather the Emperor, and the succession of her uncle as Emperor and her father as Crown Prince.  That wedding is now planned for 2020.  There is speculation that sniping about Mr. Komuro's family background in certain circles close to the throne may have been an additional cause of the postponement.

These marriages makes the crisis of the ever shrinking Imperial family even more acute as there are fewer members of the family to carry out official functions, and only 4 heirs to the throne. Of the male heirs, the first and second in line are in their 50s with wives unlikely to produce any additional heirs (Akihito and Akishino), the third in line is 12 year old Prince Hisahito, and the 4th in line is 82 year old Prince Hitachi.  As the younger Princesses marry and leave the Imperial family, this will leave the dwindling number of Princes and thier wives and widows to carry out official duties.  Indeed, unless the rule about princesses being put out of the family upon marriage is ended, we are rapidly approaching the day that Hisahito could become the only member of the Imperial family.  If he has no sons this will cause a very real succession crisis.

The Lion of Judah hath prevailed.

Ethiopia stretches her hands unto God (Quote from Psalm 68 which served as the Imperial Motto of the Ethiopian Empire)

"God and history shall remember your judgment." (Quote from Emperor Haile Selassie I's speech to the League of Nations to plead for assistance against the Italian Invasion, 1936.)
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