TOKYO - Japanese people rejoiced Monday over the official announcement that Princess Ayako, the youngest daughter of Emperor Akihito's late cousin Prince Takamado, will get engaged to Kei Moriya, a businessman.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed the "very good news" and said that "together with the public, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations."
In a statement issued following the announcement, Princess Hisako, the mother of Princess Ayako, said, "I feel they are a perfect match."
Princess Hisako, who has known Moriya's parents and introduced Moriya, 32, to Princess Ayako, 27, said she agreed to their marriage because she believed Moriya is a kind man with strong values.
The two will become officially engaged on Aug. 12 and hold a wedding ceremony on Oct. 29 at Tokyo's Meiji Shrine.
The Imperial Household Agency's Grand Steward Shinichiro Yamamoto said Princess Ayako has "sincerely engaged" in a number of official duties and fully supported Princess Hisako.
"Mr. Moriya is a brilliant person suitable for Princess Ayako and we are delighted with their impending engagement," he said.
The couple first met last December as Princess Hisako hoped to interest her daughter in international welfare activities by meeting Moriya, a board member of a nonprofit organization providing educational opportunities to children in developing countries.
Princess Ayako works as a research fellow at the Josai International University's Faculty of Social Work Studies while Moriya is an employee of major shipping firm Nippon Yusen K.K.
Moriya is in charge of the company's transactions for wooden chip transport contracts. One of his colleagues described him at work as an "intelligent and competent" person who has gained deep trust from business clients. He added Moriya becomes cheerful when he drinks alcohol.
Katsumi Kusuhara, 84, who was taking a stroll near the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, said, "I think Princess Ayako is a mature woman. I want her to build a happy family."
A 69-year-old man who lives near Moriya's apartment in Tokyo called the engagement "wonderful" and said, "Mr. Moriya is a pleasant man and a good fit for elegant Princess Ayako."