National

Japan starts minting first coins of Reiwa Era

Kyodo

Japan Mint began producing ¥500 and ¥100 coins Thursday stamped with the year of issue as “Reiwa one,” following the start of the new imperial era on May 1.

Five-hundred-yen coins, inscribed with Chinese characters reading “Reiwa gannen” and with milled edges, were discharged from a machine capable of minting 750 coins per minute.

“I’m delighted to be able to start the production of a currency with the new era stamped on it,” Finance Minister Taro Aso said as he pressed the start button on the minting press. The ceremony at the Osaka-based mint was also attended by the Imperial Household Agency’s Vice Grand Steward Yasuhiko Nishimura.

The newly minted coins are expected to go into circulation after their delivery to the Bank of Japan this month.

The production of coins in other denominations will follow. All coins inscribed with the new imperial era are expected to be in circulation around October.

Reiwa is comprised of the Chinese characters “rei,” meaning order, command and auspicious, and “wa” representing harmony, peace or Japan. The government translates the era name as “beautiful harmony.”

The mint also began production on Thursday of ¥10,000 and ¥500 coins commemorating Emperor Naruhito’s ascension. The ¥10,000 coin, made of 20 grams of pure gold, features a phoenix symbolizing the imperial family on one side and the imperial chrysanthemum seal on the other. Priced at ¥140,555, orders will be accepted online or by mail until July 31.

Emperor Naruhito ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1, taking over from his father Emperor Emeritus Akihito, who stepped down on April 30 to end his three-decade reign. It was the first abdication by a Japanese monarch in over 200 years.

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