Komuro on the happiest day of his life (his wedding day, not his first day as a law clerk)
The law clerk who married a Japanese princess and then failed the New York bar exam, has been defended by an academic director who said the exam is difficult for "non-native speakers".
Kei Komuro and Japanese princess Mako started their relationship in college, and wed at the end of last month. Under Japanese law, the princess had to forfeit her royal status, once she married a 'commoner'.
Although the premise sounds like a Richard Curtis movie, it hasn't always been light comedic moments for Komuro, who has come under intense scrutiny. Some conservative Japanese people believe that Komuro is not a worthy partner for Mako, and have protested against the marriage.
Opponents to the marriage dug up details about Komuro's family, and made allegations about his mother having financial problems. Even Komuro's choice of haircut was slammed by some sections of the media, when he opted to sport a ponytail.
Komuro, a law clerk at US firm Lowenstein Sandler, took the New York bar exam in July. But when the results came out two days after his wedding, he wasn't on the pass list, and came under fire once again from his critics.
However, the New York bar exam is tough, and being under the glare of the worldwide media was probably not the most stress-free way to prepare for the tests. A fair proportion of aspiring lawyers didn't make the grade in July, as the overall pass rate was 63%. And foreign-trained lawyers had a pass rate of just 31%.
While Komuro isn't considered a 'foreign-trained lawyer', as he studied at Fordham University in New York, he would still have faced some challenges as English isn't his first language, said Lisa Young, an academic director at the Kaplan Bar Review.
"The test includes complex, timed writing and reading comprehension questions, which can be difficult for people whose first language is not English," Young said, in an article by Reuters. "It's an extremely challenging test for anyone taking it, but even harder for non-native speakers," she added.
Komuro will have an opportunity to resit the exam in February, should he wish to do so.
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