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Japan wants surnames written first, when names are spelled out in English

Participants show their Japanese writing during the annual New Year calligraphy contest in Tokyo on January 5, 2018. .
Participants show their Japanese writing during the annual New Year calligraphy contest in Tokyo on January 5, 2018. . Farzaneh Khademian/ABACAPRESS.COM via AP

Japan wants to start using the traditional order for Japanese names in English in official documents, with family names first, a switch from the Westernized custom the country adopted more than a century ago.

The idea has been floated for years, most recently by foreign and education ministers in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe‘s ultra-conservative Cabinet.

WATCH: Aug. 24 — Trudeau meets with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe ahead of G7 summit

Trudeau meets with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe ahead of G7 summit
Trudeau meets with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe ahead of G7 summit

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday that he looked forward to go by Suga Yoshihide, as he is known in Japan.

He said the change will start with government documents.

READ MORE: Trudeau meets with U.K., Japan prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

Japan adopted the first name first order for use with foreigners about 150 years ago as a way to modernize and internationalize itself.

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China and South Korea traditionally use surname first order both at home and internationally.

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