At an extraordinary Cabinet meeting which was held on April 1, ‘Reiwa’ was decided as the name of Japan’s new Imperial era. I attended this meeting as a member of the Cabinet, and was extremely happy to be part of such a historic moment. This new era name is derived from a forward to the chapter titled ‘Ume-No-Hana-No-Uta’ (‘poems on plum blossoms’) in Vol. 5 of ‘Manyoshu’, the oldest existing anthology of Japanese poetry which is said to be compiled about 1,200 years ago. This forward was written by the then Governor-General of Dazaifu in Kyushu, Otomo no Tabito, also a poet, when he hosted a plum-blossom party at his residence in 730. Since I am from Fukuoka Prefecture where Dazaifu city is located, I keenly felt a fate of my life.
I have been extremely busy all day today having press conference etc. After my busyness settles down, I will have time to recall to my mind Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga’s announcement and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s speech on the new era’s name. I am deeply grateful for the new era name ‘Reiwa’.