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Japan to announce name of era under new emperor at 11:30 a.m.

1 April 2019 08:39

TOKYO. KAZINFORM The government will announce at 11:30 a.m. Monday the name of Japan's new era, which starts in May when Crown Prince Naruhito ascends the throne to succeed his father Emperor Akihito.

The release of the new era name, the 248th of its kind, is a matter of huge public interest in Japan as it will be widely used in calendars, newspapers and official documents and certificates including drivers' licenses, Kyodo News reports.

In modern Japan, era names, or "gengo," are used for the length of an emperor's reign and are usually announced after the accession of the new monarch.

But with Emperor Akihito stepping down on April 30 as the first Japanese monarch to do so in about 200 years, it was decided to announce the new era name prior to the imperial succession to minimize disruption caused by the calendar change.

The first era name in the country was Taika, which started in 645. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters the government would like to "pick a name that heralds a new era full of hope."

In the morning, the government convened a panel of representatives from business, academia and media organizations to exchange views on candidate era names on a shortlist, before hearing opinions from leaders and deputy leaders of both Diet chambers. The Cabinet will eventually approve the new gengo later in the day.

The nine members of the panel included Sadayuki Sakakibara, former chairman of the Japan Business Federation, Kyoto University professor Shinya Yamanaka, who won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 2012 for developing so-called induced pluripotent stem cells, and Japanese award-winning novelist Mariko Hayashi.

The current Heisei era, which means "achieving peace," commenced on Jan. 8, 1989, the day after Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa, died.

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