[tz] Big tech warns of 'Japan's millennium bug' ahead of Akihito's abdication

Brian Inglis Brian.Inglis at SystematicSw.ab.ca
Fri Jul 27 17:21:55 UTC 2018

On 2018-07-27 09:32, Steve Summit wrote:
>> "Big tech warns of 'Japan's millennium bug' ahead of Akihito's abdication"
>> https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jul/25/big-tech-warns-japan-millennium-bug-y2k-emperor-akihito-abdication
> Fascinating.  From the article:
> | Unicode [can't] set the standard for that new character [...] until
> | it knows what it's called, and it won't know that until late February
> | at best.  Unfortunately, version 12 of Unicode is due to come out
> | in early March...
> Sounds like the problems encountered by some other people I know, trying
> madly to release their updates in time for the results of last-minute
> time-related political decisions... :-)

This project has provided an opportunity for responsible orgs to develop and
test more fast path release processes, on top of urgent security updates.
They can now plan to expand these processes to update and push out Unicode code
point, converter, and font changes for common fonts, and additions to LC_TIME
category ERA segments for %E[cCxXyY], for those locales.
This opportunity is now being made available to Unicode, CLDR, ICU and other
locale-related projects and their downstreams and distributors.

It should not be too bad, as the last transition was in 1989: a Y2K precursor.
Then, a number of alternatives appear to have been discussed and floated,
depending on the new emperor's tastes in governance and reading, whatever the
era is expected to bring, and what he wants to be called and remembered as after
his death, prior to a final decision and announcement of the official name of
the "Naruhito" era.
Prototype single glyphs for all alternatives may be designed and considered for
a reserved Unicode codepoint.
Older character sets will have to use two (or more) characters, and conversions
take that into account.

Usage of era years may be lower nowadays outside of government, and those
dealing with goverment documents and forms; although the number of mobiles,
tablets, desktops, and servers will be higher; software quality on retail
devices may be lower in this respect, with many Android devices, mainly phones,
from 2017 or earlier no longer receiving updates by then (more so if Google
settles soon with the EU on their demands) although Japan may push to get this
update out widely to older devices.

[From Wikipedia on Heisei period:
"Thus, 1989 corresponds to Shōwa 64 until 7 January, and Heisei 1 (平成元年 Heisei
gannen, gannen means "first year") from 8 January. To convert a Gregorian
calendar year (after 1989) to Heisei, 1988 needs to be subtracted from the year
in question (e.g. 2018−1988 = Heisei 30) (2018 = Heisei 30).
The Heisei period will likely end on 30 April 2019 (Heisei 31), the date on
which Emperor Akihito is expected to abdicate the Chrysanthemum Throne."]

Take care. Thanks, Brian Inglis, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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