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换年号没那么简单,日本在忙乱中走向“令和”

更新时间:2019/4/24 20:58:41 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Japan Has a New Emperor. Now It Needs a Software Update.
换年号没那么简单,日本在忙乱中走向“令和”

TOKYO — Lost data. Emails that disappear into the ether. Servers that never connect.

东京——数据丢失。邮件消失。服务器连不上。

All thanks to the ascension of a new emperor to the Chrysanthemum Throne.

这全都是因为一位新天皇登上了菊花宝座。

Japan is scrambling to update software, revise forms and print new calendars before May 1, when the world’s third-largest economy begins a new imperial era. For most of the rest of the world, it will remain the year 2019 when the clock strikes midnight. Across Japan, which relies internally on an ancient calendar that honors a reigning emperor, it will be the first day of the first year of the age of Reiwa.

日本各界正竞相赶在5月1日前更新软件、修改表格并印制新日历,届时这个全球第三大经济体将开启新的天皇时代。对世界其他大部分地区而言,当那一天午夜的钟声敲响,仍将是2019年。而在日本各地,由于采用纪念在位天皇的古代历法,那将是令和时代元年的第一天。

The new era, christened just weeks ago, will force the country’s sprawling bureaucracy to literally turn back the clock to Year 1. Experts compare it to Y2K, the digital threat in the lead-up to the year 2000, if on a much smaller and less consequential scale.

新的年号于数周前刚公布,这将迫使日本庞大的官僚体系直接把纪年调回到元年。专家将其与步入2000年时曾遭遇的数字威胁千年虫(Y2K)问题相提并论,只不过这次规模和影响较小罢了。

“The change of the era name will have a huge effect on big companies that have complicated systems,” said Gaku Moriya, deputy director of the information technology innovation division at Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, or METI.

“更改年号将对有着复杂系统的大公司产生巨大影响,” 日本经济产业省信息技术创新部门的副主管守谷学说。

Major companies with relatively modern systems will most likely handle the shift with aplomb. Still, the full consequences are not entirely clear, and for many the change will not be cheap. Every government form, including tax returns and marriage registrations, uses the imperial-style calendar, making it impossible for government workers and companies to avoid.

拥有相对现代体系的大公司很可能将沉着应对这一转变。然而,其全面影响尚不完全清楚,且对许多人而言,这样的改变也不便宜。包括退税和婚姻登记在内的所有官方表格都使用皇历,这使得政府职员和企业都无法避免这个问题。

Already the tally is mounting. The city of Nagoya, an industrial center in central Japan, estimates it alone will spend about $4.3 million dollars preparing for the new era. In the city of Koga, employees preparing for the changeover accidentally erased 1,650 water bills. Scam artists have sent out letters that target older people, telling them to submit personal information to ensure that their bank accounts make the transition, according to the national broadcaster NHK.

成本已在攀升。日本中部的工业中心名古屋估计,仅该市就将花费约430万美元用于新时代的准备工作。在古河市,为这一转变做准备的职员一不小心便抹掉了1650个水费账单。据日本全国性电视台NHK报道,有骗子专门给老年人发信,让其提交个人信息,以确保他们的银行账户完成年号的更迭。

For those companies that cannot get their paperwork in order by the deadline, METI recommends a distinctly old-school solution: correcting documents with rubber stamps bearing the Japanese characters for the new year.

对于那些无法在截止日期前做好文书工作的企业,经济产业省推荐了一种无疑很老派的解决方法:用带有新年号的日文橡皮印章更改文件。

At a small factory in the outskirts of Tokyo, just three days after the “Reiwa” name was announced, Osamu Takiguchi and a crew of about 20 worked overtime to rush out orders of the distinctly Japanese product.

在东京郊区的一家小工厂,“令和”年号公布仅三日,泷口修(音,Osamu Takiguchi)和20名左右的工人便在加班加点赶制这一极具日本特色的产品订单。

“We ran out of rubber in the first three days,” said Mr. Takiguchi, managing director of Hanko 21, an office supply chain that owns the factory. He said he was considering hiring temporary staff to help with the last-minute rush he expected at the end of the month.

“头三天我们的橡胶就用完了,”拥有这家工厂的办公用品供应链Hanko21的总经理泷口说。他表示正在考虑雇临时工帮忙应对预计月底最后一刻的忙乱。

The headaches have prompted a national conversation over whether it is finally time for Japan to move entirely over to the Gregorian calendar. The country uses the Gregorian calendar when dealing with other countries and to coordinate global events, such as the 2020 Olympics. Most people here have also already adopted it in their personal lives.

种种难题引发了全国性的讨论,即日本是否终于到了该完全采用公历的时候。日本在与他国打交道及协调2020年奥运会这类全球事务方面采用公历。这里的多数人也已经在个人生活中采用了公历。

One lawyer, Jiro Yamane, has even sued the government over the change, arguing that forcing people to measure time by the life of the emperor violates their constitutional right to individual dignity.

律师山根次郎(音,Jiro Yamane)甚至就这一变更起诉政府,称迫使人们按照天皇的生命计时违反了他们在宪法上的人格权。

“Only Japan exists in this different space and dimension of time,” said Mr. Yamane, who is scheduled to argue his case in front of a Tokyo district court at the end of May. “It’s incompatible with international society.”

“唯独日本存在于这一与众不同的空间与时间维度当中,”山根说,他将于5月底在东京地区法院陈述案由。“这与国际社会格格不入。”

“Why are the Japanese so hung up on it?” he added.

“为什么日本人要如此执迷于此呢?”他接着说。

It may just be that Japan has a hard time letting go. The country still depends on fax machines. It is one of the last places in the world where Tower Records, the once iconic music store, has stayed open, still selling CDs.

或许日本只是很难放弃传统。这个国家仍普遍使用传真机。它也是曾经标志性的音乐商店淘儿唱片(Tower Records)依旧开业、售卖CD的世界最后几个国家之一。

The new era, to many, is symbolic of a fresh start. Government offices expect couples will rush to register their marriages on the first day of the new era.

对许多人来说,新时代象征着新的开始。政府部门预计,会有很多情侣在新时代的第一天匆忙登记结婚。

The Japanese adopted the imperial calendar from the Chinese in the seventh century, and government agencies have been required to use it since the late 1970s. Other countries in the region, including China itself, have moved on and adopted the Gregorian calendar for official business.

日本人于公元七世纪从中国引进了年号,自1970年代末起,政府机构也被要求使用这种纪年法。该地区的其他国家,包括中国在内,官方办公都采用公历。

Japan hasn’t had to face a calendar change for a generation — and that was before the hyper-speed computer era.

日本已经有整整一代人不曾经历年号的改变——上一次改变时,高速电脑的时代尚未到来。

In 1989, when the calendar switched to the Heisei era from the Showa, the announcement was made the same day that Emperor Hirohito died. Within 24 hours, much of the initial work of replacing signs and updating forms was done by hand.

1989年,裕仁天皇去世的同一天,日本宣布将年号从昭和改为平成。在24小时内,大部分更换标识和更新表格的初步工作都是手工完成的。

This time, the transition has been more orderly. The abdication date for the current emperor, Akihito, was announced in late 2017, giving the nation nearly a year and a half to get ready.

这一次的过渡更加有序。日本现任天皇明仁的退位日期是在2017年末宣布的,这给了日本近一年半的时间来准备。

Many did not. As of March, one-fifth of over 2,700 companies polled by METI had not taken steps to prepare for the switch, the agency said. Officials compounded the problem by keeping the new era’s name secret until April 1, just one month before the transition.

但许多人没有做好准备。日本经济产业省表示,截至今年3月,在该机构调查的2700多家企业中,有五分之一没有为过渡做好准备。官员们将新时代的名称保密至4月1日,距离新年号变更只有一个月,这使问题更加棘手。

Government offices and domestic financial institutions, some of which rely on outdated computer systems, are the most likely to encounter problems, according to Mr. Moriya of METI.

经济产业省的守谷说,政府机构和国内金融机构最有可能遇到问题,其中一些机构依赖过时的电脑系统。

“Some private companies may not be sufficiently aware of the issue, and don’t know what kind of problems they will have,” he said, adding that the agency had been holding private seminars to raise awareness.

“一些私营企业可能没有充分意识到这个问题,也不知道他们会遇到什么样的问题,”他说。他还说,经济产业省一直在举办私人研讨会以提高人们的认识。

Microsoft has said it will push updated software to its clients via its cloud computing systems. The vulnerable ones will probably be those who run older versions of Microsoft Windows or those that have not updated their systems.

微软表示将通过其云计算系统向客户推送更新后的软件。易受攻击的用户可能是那些运行较老版本的微软Windows或没有更新系统的用户。

In some cases, system administrators may have to update operating systems almost as old as the Heisei era itself. Though the shift could be awkward or costly, it could also force more companies to get with the times, Mr. Moriya said.

在某些情况下,系统管理员可能不得不更新几乎与平成时代一样古老的操作系统。守谷说,转换过程可能会很棘手或昂贵,但也可能迫使更多公司跟上时代的步伐。

“Some Japanese companies have used the same system for two or three decades,” he said. “The inside of the system has turned into a black box.”

“一些日本公司已经使用同样的系统二三十年了,”他说。“系统内部已经变成了一个黑匣子。”

At the stamp factory, Mr. Takiguchi said his company’s own computer system was being updated by an outside contractor. “I’ve heard they’re moving us to the Western calendar.”

在印章厂,泷口说他公司的电脑系统正在由外部承包商更新。“我听说他们要帮我们换成西历。”

“They say it’s because it’s a pain to modify the system if the era changes again,” he added.

“他们说是因为如果年号再变,修改系统会很麻烦,”他说

As online orders pinged into the company’s inbox, a woman pulled red rubber sheets lined in “Reiwa” out of a chemical bath. Another worker cut them into tiny squares that were soon to be glued on long, thin pieces of white composite wood.

网上订单源源不断地涌入该公司的收件箱时,一个女人从化学液体池里拿出了写着“令和”字样的红色橡胶薄片。另一名工人把它们切成小方块,接下来会粘合在又长又薄的白色合成木材上。

Although Mr. Takiguchi is happy for the business the changeover has brought, he admits it has created some difficulties even for him.

虽然泷口对这个变化带来的业务感到高兴,但他承认,这也给他带来了一些困难。

The end of Japan’s fiscal year in March is “already the busiest month for our industry, and the new-era demand will make us even busier,” he said.

他说,日本财政年度是在3月结束,“这本来就是我们这行最忙的一个月,新年号的订单让我们更忙了。”

“It would have been much easier if we had learned the new name in the summer.”

“如果能在夏天知道这个新名字,那就轻松多了。”

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