National

Suga cites time needed to update information system as a reason for early release of new Japanese era name

JIJI

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has cited information system updates as a reason for the scheduled early announcement of the name of the nation’s new Imperial era.

“Preparations have been in progress, such as changes to information systems in the public and private sectors, but one month or so is necessary as a preparation period” for the switch to the new era, Suga told a news conference Monday.

The new era will begin on May 1, when Crown Prince Naruhito will accede to the Chrysanthemum Throne following the abdication of his father, Emperor Akihito, the previous day. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday that the name of the era will be announced on April 1 in order to minimize the impact on the lives of the public.

Suga said the government will make sure that ministries and agencies will be well prepared for the change of the era, adding that it will do all it can for a smooth switch, which includes distributing necessary information.

On the selection of the era’s name, Suga said the government will take into account how the name of Heisei was picked for the current era, which started in 1989.

Also on Monday, Suga made a New Year’s speech to Cabinet Office officials at a government building, urging them to take every possible measure to prepare for the accession of Crown Prince Naruhito to the throne.

“In order (for the accession) to take place with congratulations from the public and without problems, the government should join together to make thorough preparations,” he said.