National

74% happy with Reiwa as name for Japan's next era, with Abe Cabinet approval rate rising to 52.8%

Kyodo

Nearly 74 percent of the public approve of the name Reiwa selected for the nation’s next era, which will be used for the next Emperor’s reign from May, a survey showed Tuesday.

The survey, conducted by Kyodo News, also showed that the support rate for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet has risen 9.5 percentage points to 52.8 percent, since the previous survey was held in March.

In a two-day nationwide emergency opinion poll, conducted after the new Imperial era name was unveiled on Monday, 73.7 percent said they liked the name while 15.7 percent did not.

Nearly 85 percent, meanwhile, saw the government’s choice of a name from a Japanese classic, rather than a Chinese source, as a positive.

The selection drew on Japanese literature for the first time in the history of Imperial era names, which are known as gengō and date back to the 7th century.

Reiwa literally means “beautiful harmony,” according to the Japanese government.

The new era name is composed of two Chinese characters — “rei” meaning “good” or “auspicious” but also denoting “command,” and “wa” meaning “harmony” or “peace.”

Abe, who held a news conference and appeared on TV programs to explain the new era name, saw his Cabinet’s support rate rise from 43.3 percent in the previous survey, which was conducted in March.

The disapproval rate stood at 32.4 percent, down from 40.9 percent.

Around 54 percent of those surveyed, meanwhile, said that they opposed the Liberal Democratic Party changing its rules to allow Abe to serve another term as party president after his third term expires in September 2021.

The issue came to light last month after some party heavyweights hinted at the possibility, but the prime minister said he would not seek another term.