TOKYO: Japan’s new imperial era when Crown Prince Naruhito becomes emperor on May 1 will be called Reiwa, the government said on Monday (Apr 1), with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying it emphasised traditional values at a turning point in Japan’s history.
The era name, or “gengo,” is used widely in Japan – on coins, calendars, newspapers and in official paperwork. Although use of the Western calendar has become widespread, many Japanese count years by gengo or use the two systems interchangeably.
Naruhito’s ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne will come a day after his father, Emperor Akihito, abdicates on Apr 30, ending the Heisei era, which began in 1989. Akihito will be the first emperor to abdicate in Japan in over two centuries.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, speaking at a news conference shown live on national television, held up a white placard with the two Chinese characters of the new era name hand-written in black ink.
The characters used in the new name mean “order” or “command” and “peace” or “harmony”.
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