The eldest daughter of Prince Akishino, Mako, 29, and Kei Komuro, 29, have indicated they intend to live in the United States after their marriage. What will happen to their security?
When Sayako Kuroda, 52, the eldest daughter of the Imperial Family, married in 2005, she was designated a “personal guard recipient” by the National Police Agency, and the Metropolitan Police Department of Tokyo continued to provide protection when she moved to Tokyo.
The Metropolitan Police Department has a section in charge of guarding the Imperial Family and a security division assigned to protect the prime minister and other dignitaries. Sayako, now a private citizen, was originally the responsibility of the dignitaries security division, but due to the close ties between the two divisions, the staff of the security division for the Imperial Family reportedly continued to be in charge.
According to a police official, “Just because someone is a former member of the royal family doesn’t mean that they will be subject to more security. The degree of public interest will be the determining factor, more than personal wishes.”
On the other hand, after their marriage, Princess Mako is expected to leave the Akasaka Imperial Palace and temporarily live with Komuro in an apartment in Tokyo.
A senior police official said, “In the meantime, she will be designated as a ‘personal guard recipient,’ just like Sayako.” There is a possibility that a police guard station will be built in front of her house, and personal security may be provided around the clock.
Dispatch of Police Liaison Officers Is Also Expected
However, when the newlyweds base their life in New York City, security procedures will change drastically.
Japanese police do not have jurisdiction outside of Japan. They are not allowed to carry guns or other security equipment, and Japanese police officers can only act as private security guards.
Police officials speculating on security in New York say that nothing has been decided yet, but they will seek information from the United States. Japanese police officials say that it is possible to have regular patrols around the home, etc., in New York, and they may request personal protection when necessary.
A senior police official stressed that “strong men surrounding the subject at all hours is not the only form of security.”
Meanwhile, the marriage has not been without its critics. “There may be strict scrutiny of our continued security. However, there is a possibility that trouble may occur, and we will provide the necessary security,” a security executive said.
Highly Paid Lawyer
Komuro works at a Manhattan law firm with five locations in the United States and more than 350 lawyers. On the firm website, Komuro is described as having a corporate practice including mergers and acquisitions. He is currently listed as a law clerk until he passes the New York State bar exam.
In the state of New York, corporate legal work is a prestigious practice that can pay as much as 20 million yen (approximately $176,000) to a first-year lawyer at a prestigious firm, but the work environment is harsh.
A Japanese woman in her 30s, who is also a licensed attorney in the state, said, “In New York, all firms are thoroughly results-oriented, and although they may be kind enough to ‘nurture you’ for the first year or so, after that, if you don’t perform to their expectations, they tell you not to come back tomorrow. It’s a tough town where you are required to have skills based on legal knowledge as well as a sense of management that allows you to provide advice like a consultant.”
New York City also comes with a high cost of living. According to a Japanese resident of Manhattan, the monthly rent for a 40-year-old studio with faulty elevators and other problems is about 300,000 yen (approximately $2,648). However, he said that most Japanese people live in the center of the city, such as Manhattan, for safety reasons.
A Japanese housewife in her 40s who has lived in Manhattan said that to pay the rent, a couple needs an annual income of at least 20 million to 30 million yen (approximately $176,500 to $264,800). The school fees are also high, and if you have children, you will need even more.