Japan may delay release of new era name until year-end or later

JIJI

The government might not announce the name of the new era to be kicked off by Crown Prince Naruhito’s accession to the Chrysanthemum Throne in 2019 until the end of the year or later, sources said.

The government wants to release the name early enough to prevent public confusion and disruption to economic activities, but there are concerns that an unnecessarily early announcement could also create confusion and create heated debate on the choice for the name.

There are also worries that, once the new era name is unveiled, public attention may shift quickly from Emperor Akihito — who is to abdicate on April 30, 2019 — to his successor, who will claim the throne on May 1.

One idea circulating in the government is to postpone the announcement until a Feb. 24, 2019, ceremony is held to mark the 30th anniversary on Jan. 7 of Emperor Akihito’s enthronement, the sources said Friday.

“We’re working in an appropriate manner on the timing for announcing the new era’s name, while considering the possible effects on people’s daily lives,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday.

Separately, the government might also make abdication ceremonies a state act of the Emperor under the Constitution, the sources said. The ceremony is expected to see the Emperor deliver a speech.