Japan names new era Reiwa

Japan's new era beginning May 1 will be named Reiwa, with Crown Prince Naruhito due to ascend to the throne that day to succeed his father Emperor Akihito, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday.
The cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided the new era name, the 248th of its kind, after hearing opinions of experts and Diet leaders. The era name, or gengo, is a matter of huge public interest in Japan as it will be widely used in calendars, newspapers, official documents and certificates including drivers' licenses.
In modern Japan, era names 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, the government 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.
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 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.

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