TOKYO – A member of Japan’s royal family, Princess Mako, will surrender her royal status by marrying a commoner.

The Imperial Household told local media that plans were under way for the engagement of Princess Mako, 25-year-old eldest granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, with law firm worker Kei Komuro, also 25, whom she met while studying together.

Japan’s imperial law requires a princess to leave the royal family after marrying a commoner.

The move is expected to reignite debate on royal succession, with the emperor also possibly abdicating soon.

Princess Mako and Kei Komuro met in 2012 at a restaurant, when they were both studying at the International Christian University in Tokyo.

The engagement will only be official after a ceremonial exchange of gifts, local media said.

Public broadcaster NHK said the wedding is expected to take place next year.