The Japanese government announced Monday that "Reiwa" will be the name of Japan's new era to start on May 1, when Crown Prince Naruhito ascends the Chrysanthemum throne succeeding his father Emperor Akihito.
The new era name, interpreted as meaning "decree" (or order) and "peace" is derived from Man'yoshu, the oldest anthology of Japanese poetry.
The announcement was greeted by a highly expectant nation, including thousands gathering on the streets in front of large screens.
Era names, or "gengo" as they are known in Japanese, are used in Japan for the length of an emperor's reign.
The new era name is usually announced after the accession of the new monarch, but the government decided to announce the new name in advance of the accession of the new Emperor.
In this way companies and the general public have time to prepare for the change and disruption is kept to a minimum.
Era names in Japan are still used for official documents such as drivers' licenses, as well as for some calendars, newspapers and other documents such as health insurance cards.
They are typically composed of two Chinese characters, or kanji in Japanese, and selected to impart a positive meaning that represent the values and ideals of the people of Japan.
The era names should be distinct from previous ones and be easy to read and write.
Earlier on Monday, Yoshihide Suga, the government's top spokesperson, convened a nine-member panel of representatives at the prime minister's office to present them with a list of proposals for the new era name.
The representatives were from the worlds of academia, media and business.
Thereafter, the opinions on the new era name were sought by both leaders and deputy leaders of both chambers of Japan's bicameral parliament.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet was subsequently charged with approving an ordinance on the new era name to replace Heisei.
The Japanese premiere has said that the government wanted to select a name that conveys the heralding of a "new era full of hope."
"Heisei," the name of the current era, means "achieving peace" and began on Jan. 8, 1989, the day after Emperor Hirohito died.
Previous era names in modern history have been Meiji (1868-1912), Taisho (1912-1926) and Showa (1926-1989), followed by the current Heisei era.
Emperor Akihito will step down on April 30, marking the first Japanese monarch to abdicate the throne in about 200 years.
The 85-year-old emperor, Japan's 125th according to the traditional order of succession, expressed his desire to step down in a rare video message broadcast in 2016.
During the video message he expressed his concern that owing to his age he might not be able to fulfill his official duties.
A year later, parliament passed a one-off bill enabling Emperor Akihito to step down.
The government ordinance will be promulgated as early as Monday afternoon following its signing by Emperor Akihito.