Foreign Ministry Move to Drop Era Name Stirs Controversy

Politics

Tokyo, April 3 (Jiji Press)--The Foreign Ministry's move to consider scrapping the use of the Japanese era name, or "gengo," in its public records in favor of the Western calendar system in principle has provoked controversy.

Some observers say the ministry has chilled enthusiasm in the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which hopes to boost the upcoming start of the new era in Japan after the announcement of new gengo "Reiwa" on Monday.

The era of Reiwa is set to begin on May 1, when Crown Prince Naruhito accedes to the throne after his father, Emperor Akihito, abdicates on April 30.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Taro Kono tried to calm the controversy, saying, "We have no intention of making any major changes in our rules."

Japanese government ministries and agencies usually adopt the Christian calendar system when communicating with foreign governments, while both the Christian and Japanese calendars are used in internal documents.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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