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January 26, 1989

DEMISE OF EMPEROR HIROHITO PRESENTS JAPAN’s PROGRAMMERS WITH GIANT HEADACHE

By CBR Staff Writer

With the death of Emperor Hirohito and the introduction of the new Imperial era with its new name, Japanese programmers are working feverishly to redate everything and to issue new programs that will redate existing software. The fact that the late Emperor kindly took an unconscionable time a’dying gave companies plenty of time to prepare although they didn’t know what the new era would be called. But Fujitsu Ltd says that it already has software for changing the era name because it has been prepared for the change since Showa Emperor Hirohito took a turn for the worse last September. According to Newsbytes Japan, NEC Corp has to convert Showa into Heisei, the name chosen for the new era, for its car licence issue system within the short space of two weeks. But IBM Japan is home free because it has always used the Christian dating system of years AD. All government and municipal offices have ordered a redating of their software programs, but since the task is expected to take some time, they will carry out official tasks using rubber stamps until the new era belatedly dawns on their computers.

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