Japan Govt to Put Family Name First on Official Documents


Tokyo, Sept. 6 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government on Friday decided to put the family name first when writing Japanese names in Roman alphabet in official documents, breaking from the Western practice of putting the given name first.

Cabinet members agreed to the change, proposed by education and culture minister Masahiko Shibayama, at a meeting the same day. The Cabinet Secretariat will work with other government agencies to draw up detailed plans for the shift.

"It is becoming increasingly important for humanity to recognize diverse languages and cultures as globalization progresses," Shibayama told a press conference after the meeting. "There is significance in writing the family name first in line with Japanese tradition."

A report drawn up in 2000 by a then national language council of the Cultural Affairs Agency said that putting the family name first was desirable.

In May this year, Shibayama and Foreign Minister Taro Kono proposed the change. But cabinet members were divided on the issue at the time.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press