Japan Post Co. began selling the first New Year’s lottery postcards of the Reiwa Era on Friday.
A ceremony for the 2020 nengajō (New Year’s greeting cards) was held at JP Tower in Tokyo’s Marunouchi district.
At the event, Toshiaki Hirose, a former member of the national rugby team, said he would like to “write neatly by hand on the nengajō.”
Freelance TV presenter Natsumi Uga said she hopes people will send “cards for greeting the first new year after the Reiwa Era began” in May, when Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne.
New Year’s lottery cards first went on sale in 1949.
Sales of the greeting cards have declining due to growing use of computers and the internet. The number initially issued for 2020 is down 2.1 percent from the previous year at 2.35 billion, the lowest since comparative data became available in 2003.
The mail unit of Japan Post Holdings Co. raised the card’s price to ¥63 from ¥62 last year because of the Oct. 1 consumption tax hike.
New Year’s cards providing a ¥5 donation to the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, among other entities, are priced at ¥68 each, with designs featuring the new National Stadium and the Olympic mascots.