Japan Agency to Call for Family Names to Come First in Roman Script

Politics Society Culture

Tokyo, May 21 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Cultural Affairs Agency will shortly issue a notice calling for Japanese people's names to be described in order of last name and then first name when rendered in Roman script, education minister Masahiko Shibayama said Tuesday.

The notice will be issued to administrative bodies and others, based on a report drawn up by a now-defunct Japanese language council at the agency in 2000. Media organizations will also be asked to adopt the style.

When Japanese names are written in Japanese, family names customarily come first, followed by given names. But they are written in the inverse order, in line with the Western style, when rendered in Roman script.

At a press conference, Shibayama pointed out that his name on his name cards created by his ministry, as well as his name and the names of state ministers and parliamentary vice ministers on the English version of the ministry's website are shown in order of first name and then last name.

"I'm afraid that the council's proposal hasn't been sufficiently shared," he said. In response to his remark, the order of the officials' names on the English site were changed immediately.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press