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New era in Japan to be announced in February 2019

Government services in Japan have said that the name of the new imperial era in the country will be announced in February 2019. The current era is the Heisei.

The announcement will come after a celebration ceremony for Emperor Akihito’s abdication. The celebration is scheduled for 24 February of next year with the Emperor’s abdication coming a few month later on 30 April 2019 at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Crown Prince Naruhito will have his enthronement the following day, 1 May. Akihito will give a final address to the Japanese people during the abdication ceremony which reportedly will only include close to 300 people.

The 24 February ceremony will take place at the National Theater in Tokyo to celebrate 30 years of His Imperial Majesty’s reign. This will be the first Japanese occasion of this sort in some 200 years.

Reportedly, Japan’s government has concerns about revealing the new era’s name before the celebration as they fear the spotlight could be shifted from the retiring Emperor too soon. They do, however, want to release the name in enough time avoid any confusion.

It had been thought earlier that the new name would be announced at some point this year, as the government knew that calendar-makers would need to know to print their 2019 editions.

Just yesterday, the Japanese government approved the abdication ceremony of Emperor Akihito. This provides the legal basis to allow him to step down from the throne after a one-off law was passed to allow him to retire.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in a press conference, “As there are a variety of things we need to prepare toward the imperial succession, we will do our best so that the Emperor’s abdication and the Crown Prince’s accession will be carried out smoothly.”

At the end of May 2017, Japan’s National Diet, the country’s bicameral legislature, passed a law to allow 84-year-old Emperor to abdicate. His Imperial Majesty will be the first monarch in Japan to abdicate for nearly 200 years.

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