Construction Minister Masaaki Nakayama on Tuesday proposed that the government take over the hosting of ceremonies marking National Founding Day, which have been hosted by a private group, Chief Cabinet Secretary Mikio Aoki said.

Nakayama made the proposal during an informal meeting of Cabinet officials in the morning, Aoki said at a news conference.

“We have not taken it as a formal request urging the government to host the events,” the top government spokesman said.

National Founding Day, Feb. 11 and a national holiday, commemorates the legendary enthronement of Japan’s first Emperor Jinmu.

Critics argue the founding of Japan should not be dated from legendary enthronement and are troubled by the holiday’s association with the emperor system.

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