Japan assures world that Reiwa is all about 'beautiful harmony' and has nothing to do with 'command'
Japan Times -- Apr 04
The Foreign Ministry confirmed Wednesday the name for Japan’s forthcoming new Imperial era, Reiwa, means “beautiful harmony” in English.

Within days of the announcement of the new gengō, as such eras are known, the ministry has presented an English translation for the new name.

The move is intended to dispel what the ministry considers erroneous reports overseas that the new era name has connotations of “command” or “order” — one of the most common meanings of the kanji for rei that forms the first half of Reiwa.

“Having seen talk overseas that the new gengō means ‘order’ or ‘command,’ we felt the need to let the world know that nobody (in the government) thinks like that,” Hiroatsu Satake, a foreign ministry official, told The Japan Times.

“If you look up that individual kanji in dictionaries, I believe a meaning like this does show up, but it has multiple other meanings too. We felt we should at least make it clear this particular one is not the intended meaning here,” Satake said.

The foreign ministry’s attempt to dissociate Reiwa from the authoritative nuance of command or law chiefly associated with rei, which is used in terms such as meirei (command) or hōrei (law), may have been clear enough from its issuance of the translation “beautiful harmony.”

But that rendition of Reiwa fails to reflect the original context in which the kanji rei was used in “Manyoshu” — the nation’s oldest existing anthology of poetry, from which the new gengō was drawn.

Reiwa was inspired by a portion of a passage written by prominent poet Otomo no Tabito, who used rei to render reigetsu, an “auspicious month,” as he detailed the soft manner of an early spring breeze.

News source: Japan Times
Sep 21
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged Friday to step up efforts to reform social security as Japan faces a multitude of challenges stemming from its rapidly graying population and low birthrate. (Japan Times)
Sep 19
Newly appointed Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said Wednesday that Tokyo urgently demands Seoul eliminate “violations of international law” regarding wartime Korean labor issues, adding that it is a top priority for Japan in handling the bilateral relationship. (Japan Times)
Sep 18
Japan's government is expected to nominate former vice finance minister Masatsugu Asakawa to head the Asian Development Bank. (NHK)
Sep 12
Nearly seven years in office, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is betting that his handpicked ministers and ruling party lawmakers will give him a firmer -- and possibly longer -- grip on power. (Japan Today)
Sep 12
New Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, a rising political star in Japan, said Wednesday he will encourage increased innovation in the country in the fight against human-driven climate change. (Kyodo)
Sep 11
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will give Shinjiro Koizumi, a rising political star touted as a future Japanese leader, his first ministerial post in a Cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday, sources familiar with the matter said Tuesday. (Kyodo)
Sep 11
The World Trade Organization upheld on Tuesday an earlier decision urging South Korea to take corrective action over its antidumping duties on pneumatic valves imported from Japan. (Kyodo)
Sep 08
An undeclared North Korean ballistic missile base in the country's southwest hosts medium-range missiles capable of striking half of Japan and anywhere in South Korea, a U.S. think tank says. (Japan Today)
Sep 07
Japan has decided to reject South Korea’s offer to extend a military intelligence-sharing pact scheduled to expire in November in exchange for Tokyo easing retightened trade controls, government sources said Friday. (Japan Times)
Sep 03
As the hike in the consumption tax approaches, consumers and businesses are worried about the confusion that might erupt from differing rates for similar goods. (Japan Times)