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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 March 27 - April 2  > Shii comments on announcement of new imperial era name
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2019 March 27 - April 2 TOP3 [JCP]

Shii comments on announcement of new imperial era name

April 2, 2019

The Abe government on April 1 announced that the name of a new imperial era, which starts on May 1 after the crown prince takes the throne, will be “Reiwa”. Following the announcement, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo at a press conference held at the party headquarters issued a comment. The full text of his comment is as follows:

To designate an imperial era and its name has its roots in ancient China and is based on the idea that a monarch rules not only the space but also the time. The JCP thinks that this is not in harmony with the current Japanese Constitution’s principle of popular sovereignty.

The JCP does not oppose the use of imperial era names by the general public as a form of traditional custom. People have a free choice of year-numbering systems, to be specific, the Gregorian calendar or the imperial era calendar. No one should be obliged by the government to use imperial era names.

Successive governments have stated that they will not require the general public to use the imperial era name. The JCP once again urges the government to maintain this position.

* * *

At the press conference, Shii accepted questions from reporters. Asked about the Era Name Act, Shii said that the JCP does not take a stance to demand an immediate abolition of the law or the imperial era name system. He added that this issue should be settled in the future through public consensus. Shii explained that this is in accordance with the 2004 JCP Program, which deleted the abolition of the monarchy from the list of reforms Japan needs at present.

In regard to the question whether Akahata will continue showing the imperial era name on the front page along with the Gregorian calendar year, Shii said that Akahata will maintain the method for the convenience of those who are accustomed to the imperial era name.

In response to another question about expectations for the new imperial era. Shii said, “The JCP does not think that a change of emperors or imperial era names marks an epoch in history, so I have nothing in particular to say.”
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