Japan's New Era Name To Be Announced

Japan's new era name to be announced

It's a prelude to a new page in Japanese history. In the coming hours, the government will announce the name of the country's new era, which will start when a new Emperor takes the throne on May 1.

As Japan awaits the unveiling of the name, the Chief Cabinet Secretary is calling in a panel of experts to the Prime Minister's Office to discuss.

Yoshihide Suga will present them with a list of proposals and ask them to give their opinions.

Emperor Akihito is set to abdicate on April 30.
The following day Crown Prince Naruhito will assume the role. It will be the first time in two centuries an Emperor is handing over the throne to his successor.

And it will end the more than three-decade-long "Heisei" era under Japan's traditional calendar.

The era name is used in numerous kinds of occasions and papers -- including drivers' licenses, health insurance cards, and calendars.

The process to choose a new era name involves numerous steps, lots of discussion and is shrouded in secrecy. Later this morning the Cabinet will decide on a name after hearing opinions from experts, as well as the heads of both Houses of the Diet.

Suga will then make the official announcement.

The government decided to announce the new name in advance so companies and the general public can prepare for the change.