The government has decided that the 31st year of Heisei will end with the abdication of Emperor Akihito 120 days into 2019, on April 30. Then on May 1, Crown Prince Naruhito will become emperor and a new nengō (name of the period of reign) will be announced.

In his weekly column in Flash (Dec. 24) titled Nyusu Kuidaore! (Stuff Yourself With News 'til You Drop!), Osaka-based TV personality Jiro Shinbo promised a "bold prediction" for the next nengō to follow Heisei.

Actually the method of time keeping in Japan is a bit more complicated. Apart from the nengō system that records the years of an emperor's reign, there exists an imperial system dating back to dynastic founder Emperor Jimmu, in which 2018, for example, will be the year 2,678. Also in 554, the Chinese lunar calendar was imported via Korea. 2018 will be the year of the earth-dog, a combination of 12 branches and five stems that repeats in 60-year cycles.