Businesses await new era name to follow emperor's abdication
Japan Today -- Dec 02
Calendar, diary and fortune-telling businesses are anxiously awaiting the announcement of the name of Japan's next imperial era, as the government said Friday it is expected to begin on May 1, 2019, the day after the emperor abdicates.

In modern Japan, a gengo era name lasts for the length of an emperor's reign and is widely used in calendars and official documents along with the Gregorian calendar. The government is expected to announce the new era name sometime in 2018 to minimize disruption to people's lives.

Ryusho Takashima, chairman of Tokyo-based fortune calendar company Takashima Ekidan, expressed concern about whether his company will be able to publish its products for 2019 on time.

The company publishes four fortune calendars, selling around 200,000 copies each year. As it prints new fortune calendars in April for released around August, a late announcement could affect production, he said.

Takahashi Shoten Co, a major diary company in Tokyo, omitted the era name in most of its mainstay items for 2018. As for products for 2019, it plans to print the new era name if an announcement is made by January, when it begins production.

"Our priority is to avert any confusion," said company executive Takashi Okubo.

The new era name could also affect companies registering trademarks. In January 1989 when the current Heisei era, meaning "achieving peace," began, a monthly record of 118 applications for trademarks bearing the two Chinese characters for Heisei were filed, according to the Japan Patent Office.

News source: Japan Today
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