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The Abe Era? Japan's New Imperial Name Could Give Nod to Premier

  • Government set to announce name of new imperial era April 1
  • Character from prime minister’s name discussed as contender
Shinzo Abe speaks during an election campaign rally in Sapporo.
Shinzo Abe speaks during an election campaign rally in Sapporo.Photographer: Eiji Ohashi/Bloomberg

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is already expected to become Japan’s longest-serving prime minister later this year. Could his name live on through an entire generation?

By a coincidence of timing and tradition, a character from the prime minister’s surname is being discussed as a contender to describe the new era when Emperor Akihito’s son, Naruhito, ascends to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1. The name is a closely guarded secret and will be formally announced April 1, kicking off the country’s first imperial succession in more than three decades.