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Japan urges traditional order for Japanese names

May 22, 2019

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s government wants the world to begin using the country’s traditional order for Japanese names, with family names first.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would become Abe Shinzo, as he is known in Japan, ending the Westernized name order the country adopted for use with foreigners more than a century ago as a means of internationalization.

Family names also precede given names in China and South Korea, but both of those countries use that style internationally as well.

Foreign Minister Taro Kono plans to ask foreign journalists to shift to the Japanese name order to mark the beginning of Japan’s new imperial era, an upcoming Group of 20 summit and other international events including the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

An education panel’s similar proposal 20 years ago was largely ignored.

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