01/03/2019, 14.25
JAPAN
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Government to announce new imperial era

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet will announce the new name on 1st April, a month before the enthronement of Crown Prince Naruhito. Conservatives decry the decision. For the first time, the announcement will be made by the government and not by the new emperor in person.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) – Breaking with ancient tradition, the Japanese government plans to announce the new gengō or era name, on 1st April, a month before the enthronement of Crown Prince Naruhito as the new emperor (Tennō).

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet decided to announce the new reign to allow for adjustments before the start of the new era. However, not everyone likes the decision, which breaks with tradition.

Although Japan uses the Gregorian calendar, dates based on the gengō are still widely used for official documents, computer programs and other items. The year 2019 is the 31st year of the Heisei era of current Emperor Akihito. Heisei means “peace everywhere”.

Some conservative politicians and groups have expressed opposition to changes to the traditions associated with the Chrysanthemum Throne.

A group of pro-Abe lawmakers are against announcing the new gengō in advance and have demanded that the new emperor promulgate the new gengō on the day of his enthronement on 1st May.

Meanwhile, the current emperor yesterday delivered his traditional New Year wishes before a record 140,000 crowd. After wishing peace and prosperity to his subjects, Akihito withdrew, visibly moved.

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